Trump's #MuslimBan: 4 things travellers need to know about the US travel restrictions

Credit: news24.com

Cape Town - US President Donald Trump has caused consternation across the globe after signing a sweeping executive order on Friday - suspending refugee arrivals and barring visas for travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for the next three months.

As protests erupted against the executive order, analysts say Trump is not only masterminding his first constitutional crisis with the disruption he promised during his campaign, but stoking the anger of Islamic groups, giving the wider Muslim world and terrorists more support through his anti-Muslim policies.

SEE - PICS: Trump's #MuslimBan causes heartbreak, chaos at international airports

Here are the four key developments travellers need to know about:



The US Department of Homeland Security appears to be between a rock and a hard place, stating on Sunday it would continue to enforce President Donald Trump's sweeping executive order restricting immigration, but would also comply with court orders which have partially blocked the temporary ban on a national level in some states.

The order barred US border agents from removing anyone who arrived in the US with a valid visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It also covered anyone with an approved refugee application but it is unclear how quickly the order might affect people in detention.

"President Trump's Executive Orders remain in place— prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the US government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety," according to the DHS statement.

But the DHS also said it would "comply with judicial orders" - presumably including US District Judge Ann Donnelly who wrote in her decision that sending those travellers back to their home countries following Trump's order exposes them to "substantial and irreparable injury".

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.

Airlines around the world turned away passengers, refunding tickets and rebooking flights in the aftermath of President Donald Trump's immigration order over the weekend.

The order also suspended the US refugee program for four months - but its effect on approved green card holders remains unclear.

Airlines have been forced to tell some customers they couldn't proceed on flights to the US. According to the Washington Post some 282 people had been affected, less than 1 percent of all people travelling to the US over the weekend.

Dubai-based Emirates said a small number of its passengers were affected on Saturday, and it was helping them rebook. Delta Air Lines and British Airways both said they were offering refunds for passengers who couldn't complete their trips.

On Friday Dutch airline KLM said it had to turn away seven would-be passengers because they would no longer have been accepted into the US based on the immigration ban from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Several airlines, including Qatar Airways, posted travel alerts on their websites warning customers about the changes.

Iqbal Jassat, an executive of the Johannesburg-based Muslim advocacy group Media Review Network, says the group is deeply troubled by Trump’s ban and condemns it in the strongest terms.

The Media Review Network's Jassar says while the group is encouraged by the wave of protests against the executive order at several US airports, which temporarily blocks the Executive Order but remains concerned that the “Trump administration remains arrogantly adamant to pursue its Islamophobic policies.”

"We believe that Muslims, especially from the seven targeted countries will justifiably be outraged and angered.

"Refugees who are homeless and displaced as a direct result of America's wars of aggression in their homelands such as Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Libya will feel aggrieved too.

“Donald Trump seems to be in a race to crown himself as a bigot and defining his administration as a world leader of Xenophobia and Islamophobia. We call on South Africa, the African Union and the international community to urgently reassess its alliance with America's discredited "War on Terror".

“ Trump has surrounded himself with a cabinet subscribing to "Israel First" will undoubtedly exacerbate America's fraught relations with the Muslim world.

As protests erupted German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday slammed the restrictions on immigration imposed by US President Donald Trump, saying it was "not justified" to target people based on their background or religion. Merkel cited the Geneva Refugee Convention in relation to the ban, just a day after she spoke by phone with the new US president, when they discussed a range of issues from relations with Russia to the situation in the Middle East and NATO.

Statements released by both sides after the call made no mention of the immigration ban, but Seibert on Sunday said Merkel had reminded the US billionaire of his human rights responsibilities.

"The Geneva Refugee Convention calls on the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds," says Seibert.

Added to this Pakistani teen activist and youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzazai released a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s plans for restricting immigrants and refugees to the United States.

“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Yousafzazai says in the statement, which was released by the Malala Fund, her charity focusing on girls’ education.

What to read next on Traveller24:

- Weekend Review: Africa's continental passports, Trump’s #MuslimBan and SA’s Kings of the Air

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