CAIRO (AP) — Dutch airline KLM says it has had to turn away seven would-be passengers because they would no longer have been accepted into the United States under President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Manel Vrijenhoek, at KLM’s press office, said: “We would love to bring them there. That’s not the problem. It’s just that this is what the U.S. sprang on the rest of the world — that these people are no longer welcome.”
She said the seven were due to fly with KLM from different airports around the world. Vrijenhoek said she had no specifics on their nationalities, although she confirmed they were from countries affected by the three-month immigration ban: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Trump signed the order Friday.
A U.S. federal law enforcement official says any non-U.S. citizen from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen is now barred from entering the United States.
That covers legal permanent residents — green card holders — and visa-holders from those seven countries who are out of the United States after Friday, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order with the temporary ban. They cannot return to the U.S. for 90 days.
The official says there’s an exemption for immigrants and legal permanent residents whose entry is in the U.S. national interest, but it’s unclear how that exemption will be applied.
The official says visa and green card holders already in the U.S. will be allowed to stay.
The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the details of how Trump’s order is being put in place and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Customs and Border Protection is notifying airlines about passengers whose visas had been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S., and the airlines are being told to keep them off those flights.
— Alicia Caldwell, Associated Press
Trump’s order singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, ordering that anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war, are indefinitely blocked from coming to the U.S.
Trump’s ban on asylum-seekers came down even as Iraqis endangered by work for the United States in their home country were midflight to their hoped-for refuge in the United States. As a result, they and countless other refugees, their families and aid workers scrambled Saturday as Muslim travelers were turned back on arrival at U.S. airports or blocked from boarding flights to America.
Organizations including the International Refugees Assistance Project, which helps former Iraqi translators for the U.S. military and other refugees seeking entry to the United States, and other organizations aiding asylum-seekers, rushed translators and lawyers to airports to try to help U.S.-approved asylum-seekers already on their way to the country as Trump’s ban came down.
“I’ve got one arriving at JFK in 10 minutes. We’ll see how that goes,” Becca Heller, director of that refugee group, said Friday night about one man on his way. He is the Iraqi husband of a woman who had fled to the United States recently to escape threats to her life over her work for U.S. officials in Iraq.