- Federal Judge Grants Stay to Allow Those With Visas to Remain
A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York issued an emergency stay Saturday night that temporarily blocks the U.S. government from sending people out of the country after they have landed at a U.S. airport with valid visas.
The order barred U.S. border agents from removing anyone who arrived in the U.S. with a valid visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It also covered anyone with an approved refugee application. The Department of Homeland Security said that more than 170 people were denied entry to the U.S. as of Saturday night, according to Reuters.
The ruling by Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Courtfor the Eastern District of New York came during a hearing called after President Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking people from seven Muslim-majority from entering the United States and putting a temporary halt to refugee admissions
Twelve refugees were detained at JFK Airport within hours of Trump’s order restricting immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations — but two were released later in the day — as hundreds of protesters continued to amass at the busy airport throughout the day and into the evening.
One of the Iraqis, Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, 53, was released by midday Saturday. “I suffered to move here, to get my family here …. I can’t go back,” Darweesh said shortly after his release, according to the New York Post. Asked if he’d be killed in Iraq, he answered: “Yes, yes.”
Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Army interpreter in Iraq, had been stopped as he traveled with his wife and three kids when agents pulled him aside, according to the New York Times.
The other Iraqi detainee, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, 33, was released at about 6:30 p.m. The fate of 10 other refugees, whose nationalities were not immediately known, is unclear.
Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) announced the number of refugees held at the airport. “This should not happen in America. We shouldn’t have to demand the release of refugees one by one,” the two members of Congress said in a statement.
“They have been detained illegally. I am begging you to go and revisit this. It’s ill-advised, it’s mean spirited,” said Velazquez, during a press conference.
Meanwhile, the National Immigration Law Center and other civil liberties organizations have filed a suit in federal court in New York on behalf of the two Iraqi men that seeks to certify the case as a class-action on behalf of other who organizers claim have been detained illegally. Karen Tumlin, legal director at the NILC, issued the following statement:
“Trump’s order keeps some of the world’s most vulnerable people in life threatening danger. … Many refugees like our client risked their lives to help the United States government. The fact that the government has now decided to turn its back on those who served and protected us isn’t just unconscionable. It’s unconstitutional.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) held an afternoon press conference in response to Trump’s actions to say that we “cannot tolerate this type of activity.”
The White House moved Saturday to defend the president’s refugee order, saying Muslims are not being targeted.
“The notion that this is a ‘Muslim ban’ is ludicrous,” a senior administration official confirmed to Fox News.
Other travelers were being stopped from boarding U.S.-bound flights at overseas airports as the Trump refugee ban went into effect Friday night.
Trump on Friday suspended refugee admissions for four months and indefinitely banned those from war-torn Syria, pending program changes that are to ensure refugees won’t harm national security.
A U.S. federal law enforcement official says 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 are 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.
The official says 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.
The official says visa and green card holders already in the U.S. will be allowed to stay. The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the details of how Trump’s order is being put in place and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Customs and Border Protection is notifying airlines about passengers whose visas had been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S., and the airlines are being told to keep them off those flights.
The order also imposes a temporary ban on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
The lawyers said custom agents wouldn’t let them meet with their clients who they said had valid visas to enter the U.S.
“Who is the person we need to talk to?” asked Mark Doss, a lawyer with the International Refugee Assistance Project.
“Mr. President,” the paper quoted a customs agent as responding. “Call Mr. Trump.”
“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” the group’s Omar Jadwat said.
In Cairo, airport officials prevented seven U.S.-bound migrants — six from Iraq and one from Yemen — from boarding an EgyptAir flight to New York.
The officials said the seven migrants, escorted by officials from the U.N. refugee agency, were stopped from boarding the plane after authorities at Cairo airport contacted their counterparts at JFK.
Qatar Airways told passengers bound for the U.S. from the seven newly banned majority Muslim countries that they need to have either a U.S. green card or diplomatic visa to travel.
A statement on the company’s website says: “Nationals of the following countries: Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen … may travel to the U.S. only if they are in possession of a permanent resident card (Green card) or any of the below visas.”
It listed foreign government, United Nations, international organization and NATO visas.
Late Friday, the International Rescue Committee called Trump’s suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program a “harmful and hasty” decision.
The group’s president David Miliband said, “America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”
He said 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.”
“This is no time for America to turn its back on people ready to become patriotic Americans,” he said.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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