- 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.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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