Washington: US authorities wasted no time implementing Donald Trump’s order halting Muslim arrivals, detaining travelers arriving at American airports within hours of the US president signing the tough new measures, media reports said Saturday.
The New York Times reported that airport officials as early as Friday night began detaining travelers, some of whom already had been aboard their flights when Trump announced his executive order closing America’s borders to refugees.
Trump’s order suspends entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days and indefinitely halts the admission of refugees from Syria.
It also bans entry into the United States from travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — for 90 days.
The order paved the way for what Trump has pledged will be “extreme vetting” of visa applicants’ backgrounds — with some exceptions made for members of “religious minorities,” a caveat many see as a way to apply favorable treatment to Christians from majority Muslim states.
The move makes good on one of Trump’s most controversial campaign promises, when he vowed to stem immigration from various Muslim countries which he insists pose a terror threat to the United States, and to subject future arrivals to “extreme vetting.”
The Times said the detentions have been met with early legal challenges, as lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees being held at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport filed a court appeal for their release, alleging that the two travelers were being unlawfully detained.