Protests at JFK after 12 travelers are held overnight in confusion at Trump immigration ban - including Iraqi who worked as a U.S. army translator for ten years
Iraqi refugee detained at New York airport walked free on Saturday afternoon
One of the Iraqi refugees who was detained for 14 hours when he flew to the United States after Trump signed an executive order has now been released from New York's JFK airport.
Hameed Khalid Darweesh walked free from detention on Saturday afternoon after arriving in America on a flight from Istanbul the night before.
The 53-year-old had worked for the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years as a translator, engineer and contractor and had a valid special immigration visa to relocate to America.
Darweesh pumped his fist in the air outside the airport following his release, as a crowd of supporters cheered him on.
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Iraqi refugee Hameed Khalid Darweesh (center) walked free from detention at New York's JFK airport on Saturday after being held for 14 hours when he tried to enter the U.S.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday afternoon providing for 'extreme vetting' of immigrants and visa holders
'First of all I want to thank the people that take care of me and support me. This is the humility, this is the soul of America,' he told a crowd gathered outside the airport.
'This is what pushed me to move - leave my country and come here. America is the land of freedom… America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world.'
Asked what he thought of Trump he said: 'I don't know. He's a president, I'm a normal person.'
He was travelling with his wife and three children at the time but they were not detained. They were heading to Charlotte, North Carolina to start their new life in America.
WHO EXACTLY IS BANNED FROM THE U.S?
Any non-U.S. citizen from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen is now barred from entering the United States.
That covers legal permanent residents - green card holders - and visa-holders from those seven countries who were out of the United States after Friday, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order with the temporary ban. They cannot return to the U.S. for 90 days.
There's an exemption for immigrants and legal permanent residents whose entry is in the U.S. national interest, but it's unclear how that exemption will be applied.
Visa and green card holders already in the U.S. will be allowed to stay.
Customs and Border Protection is notifying airlines about passengers whose visas have been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S. Airlines are being told to keep them off those flights.
Source: Associated Press
Lawyers for Darweesh and another Iraqi who is still detained at JFK filed a lawsuit on Saturday morning in a bid to have them released.
The two men were on separate flights when immigration officials stopped them on Friday night and took their passports when they landed in New York.
Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi - who approved for a visa on January 11 - was flying to America to join his wife and son in Texas.
Eleven other refugees are still being held at JFK airport. Protesters gathered outside the airport on Saturday in anger over those being held in detention.
Cairo airport officials said seven U.S.-bound migrants - six from Iraq and one from Yemen - were prevented from boarding an EgyptAir flight to New York's JFK airport.
The officials said the seven migrants, escorted by officials from the U.N. refugee agency, were stopped from boarding the plane on Saturday after authorities at Cairo airport contacted their counterparts in JFK airport.
The action at Cairo airport was the first there since Trump imposed the three-month ban on refugees.
Dutch airline KLM says it had to turn away seven would-be passengers because they would no longer have been accepted into the United States.
'We would love to bring them there. That's not the problem. It's just that this is what the U.S. sprang on the rest of the world - that these people are no longer welcome,' Manel Vrijenhoek, at KLM's press office, said.
She said the seven, who were from the seven blacklisted countries, were due to fly with KLM from different airports around the world.
It is not clear exactly how many refugees or visa holders are already being detained across the country.
Protesters gather at JFK airport to rally against Trump refugee ban
Darweesh was met by crowds of supporters outside JFK airport following his release on Saturday￼
Trump, pictured with the executive order on Air Force One on Thursday, has put a 90-day pause on visas and immigration from seven countries including Iraq and Syria
the T.S. Syrians walk past destroyed buildings in Aleppo's formerly rebel-held al-Shaar neighbourhood on January 21, 2017, a month after government forces retook the northern Syrian city from rebel fighters. / AFP / LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images) Trump is set to INDEFINITELY block Syrian refugees coming to the US and create 'safe zones' inside the war-torn country as part of immigration crackdownTrump signs order to bar some refugees prioritizing Syrian Christians.
Panic broke out after Department of Homeland Security issued a directive at 4.30pm on Friday enforcing Trump's executive order to essentially close down the borders to refugees and visa holders from a list of banned Muslim-majority countries.
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee said there was chaos at airports and in the air following Trump's ban with the organization already receiving calls for help from green card and other visa holders after being refused admission.
'Visas being denied immediately. Chaos at airports and in the air. #MuslimBan will apply to green card holders attempting to return tonight,' the ADC's Abed Ayoub tweeted on Friday night.
WHAT WILL TRUMP'S ANTI-IMMIGRATION ORDER DO?
Ban refugee entries from all countries for 120 days. Refugees can be accepted on case-by-case basis, including if they are a religious minority facing religious persecution
Block refugee entries from Syria indefinitely.
Cap refugee intake at 50,000 per year.
Ban visa and immigration entries for 90 days from Muslim-majority countries on banned list, including Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
Suspend visa issuance to countries of particular concern.
Trump's ban puts a 90-day pause on visas and immigration from seven countries including Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
The order also puts a 120-day ban on all refugee entries into the country and declares that refugees from Syria are not welcome until further notice.
After that period of time, refugees will be accepted only from countries that the State and Homeland Security Departments decide are safe to work with.
It comes as Iran's foreign ministry suggested the country would limit issuing visas to American tourists in retaliation for Trump's suspension of immigration and visas.
The official IRNA news agency carried a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry on Saturday that said Iran will resort to 'counteraction' to Trump's executive order.
'Iran, to defend the dignity of the great Iranian nation, will implement the principle of reciprocity until the removal of the insulting restriction against Iranian nationals,' the statement read.
'It will apply corresponding legal, consular and political actions.'
The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when militants stormed the U.S. embassy.
Trump's immigration ban has angered activists (pictured in New York on Friday) with the U.S. banning all refugee entries for 120 days￼
Google CEO Sundar Pichai urged its staff travelling overseas on Friday to immediately return to the U.S. if they would be affected by the order￼
Demonstrators took part in a rally in support of Muslims and immigrants in New York on Friday ahead of Trump's executive orderSYRIAN REFUGEE'S DREAM OF MOVING TO U.S. SHATTERED:
Syrian refugee Ammar Sawan took his first step toward resettlement in the United States three months ago by submitting to an initial round of security screenings.
But his dreams of a better life were crushed when President Donald Trump enforced an indefinite ban on Friday on displaced Syrians entering the United States.
Sawan, who is a Syrian refugee living in Amman, Jordan with his family, revealed on Saturday that he learned of Trump's decision from TV news the night before.
'When we heard of the order, it was like a bolt of lightning, and all our hopes and dreams vanished,' the 40 year-old said.
The upholsterer, who supports his family with odd jobs in Amman, said he was especially disappointed for his four children who he had hoped would get a good education in the U.S.
He and other Syrian refugees in Amman bristled at the idea that they posed a potential security threat, saying they were both shocked and saddened by Trump's ban.
'We tell the American people that we hope he (Trump) retracts this decision,' said 37-year-old refugee Mayada Sheik. 'We are not going out to harm people of other countries.'
Google urged its staff travelling overseas on Friday to immediately return to the U.S. if they would be affected by the order.
CEO Sundar Pichai issued a memo slamming Trump's order saying 100 employees were affected, Bloomberg reports.
The tech company feared its employees, even though they have valid visas, would be stopped from returning to the country.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg hit out at Trump condemning his anti-immigration bans.
'The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that,' Zuckerberg said.
It follows reports that Muslim-majority countries with ties to Trump's business empire have been excluded from the order, Bloombergreports.
Statistics show Trump doesn't have any business relations with the seven black-listed countries, but does with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey.
Trump's order declares that U.S. policy is 'to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.'
It also gives Homeland Security 60 days to begin providing the president with the names of other countries to add to the list.
The nation will limit the total refugee resettlement numbers to 50,000 per year, according to the order.
It follows reports that Muslim-majority countries with ties to Trump's business empire have been excluded from the order
Trump's executive order declares that the U.S. will 'prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution.' But that only applies when 'the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality.'
The International Rescue Committee called President Trump's suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program a 'harmful and hasty' decision.
In a statement issued late Friday night after the suspension was announced, IRC President David Miliband said: 'America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.'
The IRC statement declared that the U.S. vetting process for prospective refugees is already robust - involving biometric screening and up to 36 months of vetting by '12 to 15 government agencies.'
Miliband praised U.S.'s record as a resettlement destination and said: 'This is no time for America to turn its back on people ready to become patriotic Americans.'