When President Donald Trump enforced his first travel ban, it was almost immediately contested in the court. However, new documents made public by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows, in the nine days the ban was enacted, it stopped 1,903 people for secondary inspection — out of which more than 76 percent were lawful permanent residents.
According to the CBP document, 1,457 permanent residents were caught in the cross fire when Trump first imposed his ban on Jan. 27, 2017, barring travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, without any prior warning.
Out of the remaining 446 people subjected to secondary inspection, at least 134 withdrew their entry request. Entry request withdrawal would have caused the applicant to immediately leave the United States.
In 2017, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3, legal residents faced difficulties trying to return to the United States until U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order blocking Trump’s “Travel and Refugee Ban.”
The 28-page CBP document was made public due to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.
"This document lists all Executive Order related travelers who were encountered at CBP primary inspection in the air, land, and sea environments from January 27, 2017, to February 4, 2017, and were referred for secondary inspection,” the document states.
The document also states the “disposition” of almost 300 people who were not permanent residents and subjected to secondary processing was based on mere reference to a code that appeared on various visas and other federal provisions.
However, in other cases, the disposition was more specific and did not allow entry under any other provision. For example, nine Syrians were specifically detained after secondary processing in Philadelphia. Similarly, an Iranian was detained in Miami.
The Department of Homeland Security initially claimed permanent residents would not be subjected to secondary inspection, only to be overruled by the White House, which allowed entry in the United States on a case-to-case basis despite the permanent citizenship status.
A memo, with the subject “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” was also made public due to an FOIA request, explained the process and conditions for waivers granted to permanent residents.
On Jan. 29, 2017, the then-secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly claimed permanent citizenship to be a “dispositive factor” in granting waiver, except under rare circumstances. A day later, White House counsel Don McGahn, stated in a separate memo that permanent residents did not need any sorts of waivers as the executive order does not “apply to such individuals.”
Despite the various interpretations and continued attempts to explain the travel ban, more than three-quarters of the people stopped from entering the U.S. without additional inspection were, in fact, permanent citizens.
In response to the initial travel ban, the president drafted a second, slightly more lenient ban, which was again rejected by the court. However, a third ban, with a list of slightly different countries, was temporarily approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in September 2017 while it considered its legality. The case date to determine the permanent application of this ban is set for April 2018.
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