NEW YORK — The Homeland Security Department says a New York court order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump’s travel ban will not affect the overall implementation of the White House executive action.
The agency said the court order affected a relatively small number of travelers who were inconvenienced by security procedures upon their return.
“Approximately 80 million international travelers enter the United States every year. Yesterday, less than one percent of the more than 325,000 international air travelers who arrive every day were inconvenienced while enhanced security measures were implemented,” the department said in a statement.
The department’s statement said: “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” according to the DHS statement.
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the White House, said that nothing in the judge’s order “in anyway impedes or prevents the implementation of the president’s executive order which remains in full, complete and total effect.”
On Sunday, Trump defended his order, tweeting: “our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world a horrible mess!”
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
Chants turned into cheers outside federal court in Brooklyn on Saturday night when a judge put in place a temporary stay, stopping the detentions.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the order after lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a court petition on behalf of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations who were detained at airports across the country as the ban took effect.
It was unclear how quickly the order might affect people in detention.
The order bans refugees and immigrants from seven nations linked to terrorism: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq, was one of at least 12 immigrants detained by Customs and Borders Patrol under Trump’s new executive order.
He was granted permission to relocate to the United States, but was detained along with another traveler from Iraq named Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi after arriving at JFK late Friday night.
“I support the U.S. government on the other side of the world. But when I came here, they say no and they treat me as I break the rules or do something wrong. I surprised,” Darweesh said.
Upon his release, Darweesh told a waiting crowd that “America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world.”
“This is completely un-American,” Andre Segura, attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said. “This is an unlawful order and it is making our communities much more at risk and not safer.”
On Saturday, Trump said the ban was not about targeting Muslims.
“It’s not a Muslim ban but we are totally prepared, it’s working out very nicely,” Trump said. “You see it at the airports, you see it all over it’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very very strict ban and we’re going to have extreme vetting which we should have had in this country for many years.”
The detainment of hundreds of travelers sparked protests across the country and at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. Protesters gathered outside Terminal 4, nearly shutting down traffic.