Protests against immigration bans spread across US

SBS World News Radio: Protests have spread across the United States over President Donald Trump's order for a halt on arrivals of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Protests against immigration bans spread across US

Protests against immigration bans spread across US

Across the United States, outrage is growing.

Large crowds gather, furious over President Donald Trump's efforts to temporarily ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

What begun at New York's JFK Airport has spread across the country, from airports in Miami to North Carolina, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

And now the White House, where protesters are demanding the removal of the country's brand-new President Trump.

In another blow to the Trump administration, federal judges in four states have halted deportations of travellers affected by the ban.

The rulings have been issued in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state.

The executive order is facing legal hurdles elsewhere, with attorney-generals from 16 states issuing a joint statement condemning the restrictions.

But President Trump and his team aren't backing down, insisting it's necessary to keep the US safe.

The move includes a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen.

Despite them all being predominantly Muslim-majority countries, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway denies it targets Muslims.

"Let me make it very clear - these seven countries, what about the 46 majority Muslim countries that are not included? Right there, it totally undercuts this nonsense that this is a Muslim ban. This is a ban on prospective travel from countries, trying to prevent terrorists in this country from countries that have a recent history of training and exporting and harboring terrorists."

Most of the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States have been by citizens from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt - all of which are excluded from the list.

NBC's Chuck Todd pressed the point to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who indicated the list could be expanded.

TODD: "You've had more terrorists come from those three countries than any of this seven."

PRIEBUS: "Perhaps other countries need to be added to an executive order going forward but in order to do this in a way that was expeditious and a way that would pass muster quickly, we used the seven countries that have already been codified and identified by both the Obama administration and the Congress."

The US Department of Homeland Security initially recommended the ban should not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, known as green card-holders.

But that guidance was overruled by President Trump's inner circle, including his chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The National Security Council has been restructured by President Trump to include Mr Bannon, while demoting the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Across the US, politicians have expressed concern over the ban, including many from within President Trump's Republican Party.

Prominent Republican Senator John McCain believes the order could encourage extremists.

"I think the effect will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda. But I'm very concerned about our effect on the Iraqis right now - the dominant influence in Iraq today is not the United States of America, it's Iran."

3 min read
Published 30 January 2017 at 12:00pm