US hints at extending visa ban to Pakistan

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Immigration order restricted by 4 US judges

Washington

A day after US President Donald Trump ordered no-visa policy for seven Muslim states, a White House official hinted that the ban could be extended to other countries, including Pakistan.
“You can point to other countries that have similar problems like Pakistan and others – perhaps we need to take it further,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told CBS News.
“But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries.”
Priebus said out of 329,000 people from foreign countries entered the United States on Saturday, and 109 were detained.
“It’s all done to protect Americans,” he said. “President Trump is not willing to get this wrong.”
To a question about why the countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan were not included in the executive order, he said: “Perhaps other countries need to be added going forward.”
Priebus also said green card holders may be subjected to further questioning if they travel to the banned countries at the discretion of customs and border agents.
“Customs and Border Patrol, if they have a person traveling back and forth [from any of the banned nations]… within their discretion they might ask a few more questions,” he said. “Most Americans would agree that would be a good thing to do,” adding those discretionary questions have “nothing to do with the executive order.”
In the most sweeping use of his presidential powers since taking office a week ago, Trump signed an executive order on Friday to pause the entry of travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days.
The travel curbs began immediately, causing confusion for would-be travelers with passports from the seven countries.
Defending the US president widely denounced order, Priebus said: “This is not a Muslim ban. Face the nation.”
He said Trump has solely identified countries where terrorism is taking place and could lead to danger in the US.
“All this is identifying the seven countries – and the reason we chose those seven countries is those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country.”
Meanwhile, a federal judge on Saturday blocked part of President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban, ordering authorities to stop deporting refugees and other travellers stuck at US airports.
The decision accompanied growing resistance to Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigration, with large protests spreading at major airports across the country.
On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York City´s Brooklyn borough ordered authorities to refrain from deporting previously approved refugees from those countries.
She ruled on a lawsuit by two men from Iraq being held at Kennedy Airport.
“Victory!!!!!!” the American Civil Liberties Union, whose lawyers sued the government, tweeted after US District Judge Ann Donnelly issued her decision.
“Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders.”
Later Federal judges in three states followed one in New York in barring authorities from deporting travellers affected by US President Donald Trump´s executive order imposing restrictions on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.
The judges in Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state issued their rulings late on Saturday or early on Sunday.
The U.S Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Sunday that it would comply with court rulings while at the same time implementing Trump´s order “to ensure that those entering the United States do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.”
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, some of the 2,000 demonstrators there chanted “Let them in, let them in!”
Large protests took place at the main airports for Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas.
Donnelly’s decision to issue a temporary stay, which stopped short of ruling on the constitutionality of Trump’s order, came after dozens of people were detained at US airports following Trump’s actions.
The exact number of those affected is unclear, but the judge ordered the government to provide lists of all those detained at US airports since the measure went into effect.
Sending those travellers back to their home countries following Trump’s order exposes them to “substantial and irreparable injury,” wrote Donnelly, who was appointed by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
A second federal judge in Virginia also issued a temporary order restricting immigration authorities for seven days from deporting legal permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport just outside Washington, according to US media.
Trump originally dubbed his executive order as a “Muslim ban,” according to the US president’s aide Rudy Giuliani.
“When he first announced it he said, ‘Muslim ban,’” the former New York mayor told Fox News late Saturday when asked whether the ban was connected to religion.
“Show me the right way to do it legally,” Giuliani, who Trump has tapped as his cyber security guru, said the US president told him.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Canadian immigrants Saturday in a sunny Twitter message written in stark contrast to Donald Trump´s order temporarily banning all refugees and many Muslims from traveling to the United States.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCa-nada,” Trudeau posted on Twitter.
The message comes one day after Trump signed a sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days and impose tough new controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen for the next three months.
Since then, travelers from those countries have been stopped from boarding US-bound planes, triggering angry protests and detentions at airports.—INP/AFP

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