Lankans detained at JFK

Donald Trump

In the chaotic aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, news has emerged that 71 individuals from 20 , including Sri Lanka, a country that was not on the US travel blacklist – were detained Tuesday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Those detained, according to ‘No Ban JFK’, a coalition of volunteer attorneys camped out at JFK, include a Malaysian……and a Chinese national, as well as travellers from Turkey, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, France, Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Senegal, Switzerland, Algeria, Egypt and Guinea.

Others in the list released on social media include travellers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya, five of the seven countries named in Trump’s ban. The other two are Yemen and Somalia.

Camille Mackler, Director of Legal Initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), said in a statement that the detentions prove the ban affects persons from more than just the seven targeted countries.

“And the turmoil inflicted by this sudden disruption is spilling over into the broader United States, as family members desperately seek to reunite with loved ones.

“Students and professionals continue to be blocked from their homes, schools and workplaces,” she said in the statement released by ‘No Ban JFK.’

She added that attorneys at JFK have stayed put since Trump issued the executive order on Friday, offering legal assistance to those caught in the US Government’s immigration dragnet.

“We are especially concerned with individuals being prevented from boarding flights at points of departure,” Mackler said.

The team of pro-bono lawyers and volunteers at JFK and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and NYIC coordinate in this initiative.

Trump made good on one of his campaign promises last Friday when he, in one seismic move, signed an executive order that banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US for the next 90 days.

The order also suspended admission of all refugees for 120 days. Chaos and confusion immediately gripped US airports as protesters gathered to rail against the policy and travelers found themselves caught up in the immigration nightmare that many are calling a blanket ban on all Muslims.

(Source: Ceylon Today)