The temporary ban on immigration has dominated all media during the week end. An executive order issued by President Trump on Friday effectively blocks all entries from seven different countries. The list comes from the previous administration led by Barack Obama. It includes Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan. All these nations are mentioned in the 2015 “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015”, later updated in 2016.
The temporary ban initially called for a suspension of all entries, including Green Card holders. This was later amended by Homeland Security which lifted any restriction for lawful permanent residents.
The executive order calls for a moratorium of 120 days on all refugees coming from these countries. It also commands an hold of 90 days on all visas requests from people born in these countries. Existing visas are suspended for 30 days until further validation. Therefore passengers have not been able to board planes to the USA. Some of them arrived in the USA and were detained at the point of entry until further clarification of their status.
A federal judge ordered a temporary hold on the deportation of those arrived in the USA. The judicial order yet allowed for detention until the vetting procedures were complete.
The executive order provides exceptions for the following visas: foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, C-2 , G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas. The holders of these types of visa are allowed free entry in the USA. The Departments of State and Homeland Security can also grant exceptions on a “case-by-case basis.
Confusion and Politicization of the Ban
Protests broke out in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Most were promoted by groups like CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations). Many lawyers also volunteered to help detainees in the major airports.
The event was heavily politicized by representatives of the Democratic party and by most of the media. Both Iran and Iraq read this as a provocation. They have reciprocated banning access for all American citizens as long as the US ban will stay.
Foreign nations showed mixed reactions. Some in Europe have been supportive of the ban. Others have heavily criticized it. Despite it all, President Trump has defended the intention of his executive order. He reminded that Obama took a similar measure against Iraq in 2011.
Reactions From Major Corporations
Strong reactions against the ban came also from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Uber and Starbucks. Several of these companies have employees that come from these countries and that are trying to return to the USA. Homeland Security and Custom officers applauded the Trump actions and enforced the ban with energy.
Opposition in the street seems to have been partially financed by left-wing billionaire George Soros. Protesters have defined it as a “Muslim ban”. In actual fact it only affects a small portion of the overall Muslim population in the world. It bans 1 Muslim out of 8. And the wording is all inclusive of any citizen of the seven countries, independent of their religion.
Precedent similar actions were taken by Obama in 2011 again Iraq (for 6 months), by Carter in 1980 against Iran. Reince Preibus stated on behalf of the White House: “We Won’t Apologize For Keeping America Safe.”