Protests have kicked off after the new US President blocks citizens of seven countries from visiting the States.
He infamously announced he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the US during his presidential candidacy, and now Donald Trump looks to be sticking firm to his promises.
The controversial businessman on Friday inked an executive order blocking nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the States – even if they had visas already in place.
The nations in question are all part of the MENA region, namely Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.
An estimated 130 million people will now effectively be unable to enter the US for the next 90 days.
In addition, Trump’s order also prevents immigration by Syrian citizens indefinitely, and also blocks refugee admissions for 120 days.
While there’s still confusion over the situation for those with dual citizenship, and nationals of blocked countries who have lawful US visas, it’s believed they currently will be held at airports if they fly to the States from overseas (regardless of whatever passport they travel with).
However a Department of Homeland Security official said on Saturday that no green-card holders from the countries mentioned in Trump’s order had been prevented from entering the country, but they would need additional screening.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. Don’t want them here,” Trump told media over the weekend.
“It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”
Judge sets up roadblock
While Trump’s executive order was effective immediately, a federal judge threw a spanner in his works on Saturday with an emergency ruling.
Judge Ann Donnelly announced she was granting a stay that would prevent the government from deporting immigrants currently detained in airports around the US.
Deporting refugees and visa-holders would cause “substantial and irreparable injury”, the judge said.
However the ruling only protects those who had already arrived in the US, not those heading to the States in the imminent future while Trump’s order still stands.
“Realistically, we don’t even know if people are going to be allowed onto the planes,” American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt told AP. “This order would protect people who they allow to come here and reach US soil.”
An estimated 170 people were denied entry to the US after the order was signed, Reuters reported, leading to mass protests outside US airports.
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) January 29, 2017
Trump to chat to UAE royal
The US President will hold a phone call with HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, later today, the White House said in a brief statement.
Trump will also talk with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and acting president of South Korea, Hwang Kyo-Ahn, amid the furore – though the discussions are not believed to be solely focused around his visa ban.
While the UAE isn’t one of the countries targeted by the ban, many living here could likely be affected – up to 1.1 million, in fact.
It’s estimated that around 240,000 Syrians and 500,000 Iranians live in the UAE, What’s On reports, along with tens of thousands of Somalis, Sudanese, Iraqis, and Yemenis.
And even UAE nationals heading to the US may face hefty delays, with Trump revealing heavy vetting will be in place at airports.
“We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme,” the President told ABC News last week.
“And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem.
“For other countries we’re gonna have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in. Right now it’s very easy to come in. It’s gonna be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country.”