domingo, 29 de janeiro de 2017
Theresa May 'does not agree' with Donald Trump's immigration ban / Federal judge stays deportations under Trump Muslim country travel ban
Theresa May 'does not agree' with Donald Trump's immigration ban
PM issues statement after causing outcry by declining to speak out against executive order that could affect British dual nationals
Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
Sunday 29 January 2017 01.15 GMT
Theresa May has issued a late-night statement saying she “does not agree” with Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US, after coming under intense political pressure to condemn the order.
The prime minister released her comments through a spokesman shortly after midnight, saying the UK would “make representations” if British citizens were affected by the 90-day ban on travel to the US for those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.
“Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government,” the spokesman said.
“But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking.
We are studying this new executive order to see what it means and what the legal effects are, and in particular what the consequences are for UK nationals. If there is any impact on UK nationals then clearly we will make representations to the US government about that.”
The statement is unlikely to be strong enough to satisfy many of the MPs expressing outrage about Trump’s move, which quickly caused chaos at airports.
There are already reports that British people of dual nationality with the affected countries are unable to travel to or through the US because of the ban. High-profile UK nationals likely to be caught by the executive order include Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah and Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi.
The prime minister is also facing questions about why she took so long to respond to the controversy, which has soured her trip to visit Trump on Friday which Downing Street had regarded as a success.
May initially refused to condemn the ban on refugees and nationals of the seven countries when asked about Trump’s order during a visit to Turkey. After being repeatedly pressed, May would only say: “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees.”
Aides again refused to elaborate on that position when May landed at Heathrow on Saturday evening, but the position could not hold as the prime minister came under under mounting criticism from Conservative and opposition MPs, while other foreign governments expressed strong concerns.
Following the ban, Zahawi, a Tory MP who was born in Iraq, said it was a “sad day for the USA” that he would not be allowed to enter. “I’m a British citizen & so proud to have been welcomed to this country. Sad to hear I’ll be banned from the USA based on my country of birth,” he tweeted.
He added that he had had confirmation from an immigration lawyer that the order applies to himself and his wife as they were both born in Iraq, one of the seven countries targeted in Trump’s executive order.
Farah, who came to the UK as a child from Somalia, trains in Oregon in the US but it is not clear he would be able to re-enter the country if he left.
The Olympic champion is believed to be in Ethiopia for two weeks before travelling to the UK for competition. There has not yet been comment from his camp.
David Warburton, Tory MP for Somerton and Frome, said the ban was “shocking, ludicrous, appalling and insane” and made clear he wanted May to oppose it.
James Cleverly, MP for Braintree, also weighed in to say Trump’s “immigration and Syrian refugee ban is indefensible, unworkable and almost certainly unconstitutional”.
While government ministers were initially silent, Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, was one of the most senior Tories to condemn the ban, saying it was “both wrong in itself and very worrying for the future”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said May should have condemned Trump’s actions. “President Trump’s executive order against refugees and Muslims should shock and appal us all,” he said.
“Theresa May should have stood up for Britain and our values by condemning his actions. It should sadden our country that she chose not to.
“After Trump’s hideous actions and May’s weak failure to condemn them, it’s more important than ever for us to say to refugees seeking a place of safety, that they will always be welcome in Britain.”
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The order caused chaos on Saturday, as people who had flown to the US were held at major airports while others were barred from boarding flights or were pulled off planes overseas. However, the Foreign Office had no comment or change to its travel advice as of 10pm on Saturday.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said the British government urgently needed to give travel advice to British citizens who may be affected by the ban. “Today Theresa May said that Donald Trump’s ban on people from Muslim countries was purely a matter for America,” he said.
“We now learn that the State Department apparently advises that the visa ban also applies to people with dual nationality, which will include Britons.
“Even allowing for her cosying up to Donald Trump, it would be a gross abdication of her responsibilities to all British citizens if she doesn’t take this up with her new best friend now, making clear that anyone with a British passport and a visa should be allowed safe passage.
“She must also order the Foreign Office to deliver urgently tonight advice to British citizens travelling to the United States on whether they should continue to travel.”
Trump has also banned refugees from entering the country for 120 days and those seeking asylum from Syria have been banned indefinitely.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, the chair of the Commons home affairs committee, has written to May asking her to clarify whether she raised concerns about the president’s approach to refugees and Muslims during their talks at the White House on Friday.
Her letter states: “You will understand how important it is for people in the United Kingdom to know that when our prime minister talks on Holocaust Memorial Day about things we have in common with the president of the United States, you are not talking about or condoning in any way the deeply troubling measures that president Trump has introduced,” she said.
Federal judge stays deportations under Trump Muslim country travel ban
ACLU and lawyers for two Iraqis held at New York’s JFK airport celebrate
US airports on frontline as Trump’s travel ban causes chaos and protests
Raya Jalabi in Brooklyn and Alan Yuhas
Sunday 29 January 2017 04.44 GMT
A federal judge has granted a stay on deportations for people who arrived in the US with valid visas but were detained on entry, following President Donald Trump’s executive order to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The stay is only a partial block to the broader executive order, with the judge stopping short of a broader ruling on its constitutionality. Nevertheless, it was an early, significant blow to the new administration.
Less than 24 hours after two Iraqi men were detained at John F Kennedy airport in New York on Saturday morning, Judge Ann Donnelly of the federal district court in Brooklyn ordered an emergency stay, blocking the deportation of any individual currently being held in airports across the United States.
“I think the government hasn’t had a full chance to think about this,” Donnelly told a packed courtroom.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups filed the lawsuit earlier on Saturday, challenging the detention of the two Iraqi men, with two more plaintiffs were later added to the suit, who were both valid US green-card holders. But the judge’s ruling extended to all individuals facing similar situations across the United States.
The two plaintiffs included two Iraqi refugees who had spent hours detained at JFK: Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who had worked for the US government for a decade, and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who arrived in the country to join his wife, a US contractor.
Donnelly, who was nominated by former president Barack Obama, ruled that the deportations could cause the plaintiffs “irreparable harm” by returning them to countries where they had been threatened. She also noted that the plaintiffs included visa-holders who had already been approved for entry to the US, and who, only two days before, would have been let into the country without incident.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased,” the head of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, told the Guardian. The judge, he said, “obviously gets the importance of the executive order and its impact on hundreds if not thousands of immigrants and refugees.”
The stay, which applies nationwide, will last at least until a hearing scheduled for 21 February, the judge said, and includes people on valid visas of all kinds and green-card holders.
However, it would only impact those who were “on American soil” – ie those who had been mid-flight or had landed while the executive order was being signed by the president, Romero said.
He estimated that there were at least 100-200 people currently being held in airports across the country, however he said the number could be higher. Asked by the judge to confirm the number, government lawyers were unable to respond with confidence.
Donnelly ordered the government to provide a list of all people currently being held in violation of the order at US airports or in flights, to protests from the government lawyers.
“I don’t think it’s unduly burdensome to get a list of names,” Donnelly said.
Darweesh and Alshawi had both been released earlier on Saturday, the US attorney confirmed, however Romero specified that Darweesh had been released “at the discretion of the executive branch”.
Despite the stay, however, lawyers for the plaintiffs and civil liberties advocates drew immediate concern for the well-being of those granted a stay, as it was widely assumed that the individuals in question would be held in immigration detention facilities until their hearing, three weeks away.
“It’s a long time for people to be sitting in detention centers,” Romero said, adding that the ACLU would be monitoring the conditions in those facilities.
Brian Chesky, the co-founder of Airbnb, tweeted that his company would provide “free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US”, and suggested anyone should contact him if in urgent need for housing.
Judge Donnelly suggested the lawyers should return to court, if the travelers were to be placed in detention rather than be released. “I guess I’ll just hear from you,” she said.
Earlier on Saturday, President Trump’s executive order, signed the day before, sowed chaos in airports, universities, corporations and living rooms in the US and abroad, as people grappled with the ramifications of its sometimes vague language.
Travelers were pulled off plans or detained at checkpoints, universities urged at-risk students not to leave the country or to seek legal advice while tech giants recalled their workers from abroad. Throughout, families took calls from panicked loved ones whose lives were cast into disarray, unable to return to their homes, with everything from cars to pets waiting where they left them.
While the ruling gave hope to those detained on US soil, millions of people around the world face uncertain futures. People like Farah Alkhafji, who came to the US as a refugee from Iraq having endured the killing of her husband, the burning of her house and the kidnapping of her father. She was just weeks away from taking her US citizenship test.
Similarly, Hayder, who survived multiple bomb attacks while translating for US troops during the war in Iraq. Hayder, who has asked the Guardian not to use his real name, has a plane ticket from Texas from Baghdad that he may never get to use.
Shortly after Donnelly’s ruling, a federal judge in Virginia banned the deportation of detainees being held at Dulles International Airport, and also ordered officials there to allow detainees to meet with their lawyers.
Judge Leonie Brinkema’s temporary restraining order, however, blocked deportations for just seven days. In another case in Washington state, federal Judge Thomas Zilly stopped the US government from deporting two people. A hearing was set for 3 February for Zilly “to determine whether to life the stay”.
The hearing in Brooklyn though short, was potent, dealing the first successful legal challenge to an administration which has barrelled aggressively through its first week in power, implementing its draconian set of “extreme vetting” measures.
The swift pace at which the travel ban was drawn up was plain in the conduct of the court. Lawyers representing the government displayed a clear lack of information, echoing the confusion of various government agencies and officials in the past 24 hours, who had been implementing the order haphazardly.
“Things have unfolded with such speed, that we haven’t had time to review the legal situation yet,” an attorney representing the government said.
Alerted by the ACLU to the fact that a Syrian woman with a valid US green card had been detained upon arrival into the United States and had been placed on a plane due to take off “back to Syria” within 30 minutes, the judge moved swiftly to reach her conclusion.
“Apparently there is someone being put on a plane. What do you think about that? Back to Syria,” an increasingly frustrated Donnelly asked lawyers for the government. She pressed them further on whether the government could give assurances that the woman would suffer no “irreparable harm” upon her arrival in Syria.
But Gisela Westwater, a government lawyer who spoke to judge by phone from Washington, simply replied that the government did not have sufficient information about the woman or the circumstances of her detention. “And as your honor has suggested, we all do require additional time to have more facts.”
“Well that’s exactly why I’m going to grant this stay,” Donnelly replied to muffled cheers in the room. The rapt audience, filled with of civil liberties advocates, lawyers and journalists who had tunnelled through a crowd of protesters chanting “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here”, was told by the judge to rein in their palpable excitement.
A lawyer with the ACLU later confirmed that US immigration officials were removing the Syrian woman from the plane.
Several hundred people waited for the verdict outside the courthouse, holding signs and chanting “let them go!” and “We believe that we will win”. When the verdict was announced to the crowd less than an hour later, those gathered in the bitter cold erupted in loud cheers.
Similar protests were replicated at more than a dozen airports around the country. Hundreds of people gathered to demonstrate at Kennedy airport in New York and the international ports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia and other cities where people were detained and families separated overnight. Multiple immigration lawyers were also at airports, offering their services pro-bono to those detained.
Additional reporting by Spencer Ackerman.