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Trump’s ban: Sri Lankans too detained at Airport

In the chaotic aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, 71 individuals from 20 countries including Sri Lanka were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday, Asian Correspondent said today.

According to the ‘No Ban JFK’, a coalition of volunteer attorneys camped out at JFK, those detained 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, which were not on the US travel blacklist.

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

Camille Mackler, Director of Legal Initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), pointed out in a statement that the detentions prove the ban affects 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 their 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 the 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 are being coordinated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and NYIC.

Asian Correspondent has contacted the group for updates on the situation at JFK. A press statement is expected by tomorrow.

Trump signed the 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.

Over in Southeast Asia, politicians in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia expressed concern as the ban took effect, although the two countries were not named in the list.