Demonstrators both for and against President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban converged on Los Angeles International Airport yesterday as tensions rose. They provided a colourful and noisy – but so far non-violent – entry to the USA for international arrivals.
The demonstrators assembled in two groups on the lower arrivals level after a judge overturned Trump’s executive order, which blocked all refugee admissions for 120 days and halted all refugee and non-refugee entries to the US from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria for 90 days.
Still fuming over the judge’s decision, Trump has pledged to overturn it.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” the President tweeted, adding: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into US?”
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is making official information on the status of conditions there available on Twitter @flyLAXairport and @LAAAirportPD, and at www.lawa.org/welcomelax.aspx.
US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) issued the following statement yesterday:
“In accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.’
“This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travellers for operational action subject to the Executive Order.
“DHS personnel will resume inspection of travellers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the President’s Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate. The Order is intended to protect the homeland and the American people, and the President has no higher duty and responsibility than to do so.”
Last night, Australian time, a US federal appeals court denied the Justice Department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of Trump’s ban. It’s a major setback for the new president and one he is unlikely to take lying down.
Airlines are now allowing citizens from the blocked countries to resume boarding US-bound flights. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways confirmed on Saturday that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had advised them that they could board travellers from the seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees who had been banned under the order.
“Acceptance will naturally be subject to checks completed by US authorities as existed prior to the issuance of the executive order on 27 January,” an Etihad spokesman told ABC News.
Emirates and Qatar Airways confirmed they were again accepting all passengers with valid travel documents. So have British Airways, Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa.
While the furore is unlikely affect anyone travelling on an Australian passport, the adverse publicity surrounding the ban, along with other moves by President Trump, may have a longer-term effect on leisure travel to the US. Time will tell.
Written by Peter Needham