The Latest: UNHCR chief says order adds to refugees’ anguish

March 6, 2017 GMT
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People stand during a public dialogue with officials and hundreds of refugees and immigrants at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Durham, N.C. (Bernard Thomas/The Herald-Sun via AP)
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People stand during a public dialogue with officials and hundreds of refugees and immigrants at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Durham, N.C. (Bernard Thomas/The Herald-Sun via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s new travel ban order (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

The head of the U.N. refugee agency says the Trump administration’s new executive order restricting access to the United States for some refugees may compound their anguish.

Filippo Grandi of UNHCR says the Geneva-based agency is looking forward to continuing its longtime “partnership” with the United States. The U.S. is the agency’s single largest donor.

Grandi said the “imperative” is to provide protection to people fleeing deadly violence. He expressed concern “that this decision, though temporary, may compound the anguish for those it affects.”

Several U.N. agencies like the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, which also gets a large part of its funding from the U.S., highlighted the traditionally strong U.S. role in refugee resettlement.



3 p.m.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she’s considering all legal options in response to President Donald Trump’s reworked travel ban.

She calls the revised ban misguided and describes it as “a clear attempt to resurrect a discredited order and fulfill a discriminatory and unconstitutional campaign promise.”

Healey, a Democrat, had joined several other attorneys general in a lawsuit that ultimately blocked the original order.

The ban issued Monday would bar new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and temporarily shut down America’s refugee program.

Maura isn’t the only Massachusetts Democrat who’s critical of the revised order. Sen. Edward Markey calls the ban discriminatory and says it will serve as a “recruitment tool” for terrorists. Congressman Seth Moulton says the ban targets men, women, and children fleeing persecution.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh says the city will stand by its immigrant community.


2:15 p.m.

Virginia’s attorney general says the Trump administration’s revised travel ban is a tacit admission that the original ban was constitutionally flawed.

President Donald Trump issued an order Monday restricting certain travel from six majority-Muslim countries. It significantly scales back an earlier order that prompted judicial intervention barring its implementation.

Democrat Mark Herring is one of several attorneys general who sued to stop the ban. He said his office is reviewing its legal response.

He said that while the new order “appears to be significantly scaled back, it still sends a horrible message to the world.”


2 p.m.

Syrian refugee Mahmoud Mansour says President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban leaves him confused, but hopeful that he, his wife and four young daughters will eventually reach the United States.

The Mansours are potential candidates for resettlement to the U.S. and have undergone vetting over the past year. Mansour, an artisan who embroiders traditional dresses, says his brother Suleiman and his family entered the U.S. a day before Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

The 43-year-old said Monday he was devastated by Trump’s original Jan. 27 travel ban, which barred Syrian refugees from the U.S. until further notice. The revised version suspends the entire refugee program for four months, but no longer singles out Syrians.

Mansour says the uncertainty is tough, but that “I am powerless, and I have to wait.”



1:40 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will move “very quickly” to block President Donald Trump’s new travel ban from taking effect, either by amending existing lawsuits that blocked the original order or seeking a new injunction.

Lee Gelernt (JEL’-irnt), deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, tells The Associated Press, “We’re going to move very quickly in court to make sure that at least one of the injunctions currently in place around the country remains in place.”

Gelernt says while the new order addresses some legal problems, it does not “eliminate the basic constitutional problem we saw in the first executive order, which is discrimination on the basis of religion. And so we will continue to challenge.”


1:30 p.m.

The head of a leading international relief organization has condemned President Donald Trump’s revised U.S. travel ban, saying there is no national security justification for its “catastrophic” cut in refugee admissions.

David Miliband leads the International Rescue Committee and says the ban announced Monday targets “the most vulnerable, most vetted population that is entering the United States.”

Trump’s order suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.

Speaking to The Associated Press in Beirut, Miliband called the move a “historic assault on refugee resettlement to the United States, and a really catastrophic cut at a time there are more refugees around the world than ever before.”


1:20 p.m.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson successfully challenged Trump’s initial travel ban in court and says he’s taking a serious look at the new version issued Monday.

In an emailed statement, Ferguson said the president “has capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit.” They include banning legal permanent residents, visa holders and dual citizens from entering the country, as well as explicit preferences based on religion.

Washington and Minnesota won legal challenges to the original travel ban last month when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the order after a lower court blocked it. The court rulings allowed refugees and people traveling from the seven countries on the list to enter the United States on previously issued visas.


12:55 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is backing the updated version of President Donald Trump’s contentious travel ban, which bars new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and shuts down the U.S. refugee program.

The White House has dropped Iraq from the list of targeted countries, which include Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Wisconsin Republican condemned Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. But in a statement Monday, Ryan says Trump’s revised executive order advances “our shared goal” of protecting the United States.

Ryan also commends Trump administration officials for “their hard work on this measure to improve our vetting standards.”

Trump’s critics say the focus on predominantly Muslim countries will leave the impression the order is effectively a ban on Muslims.


11:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump has signed a revised travel ban that temporarily halts entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas and suspends the country’s refugee program.

That’s according to White House spokesman Michael Short, who says the signing was done privately.

The new directive aims to address legal issues with the original order, which caused confusion at airports, sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by federal courts.

The revised order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen does not apply to those who already have valid visas.

The White House also dropped Iraq from the list of banned countries.


10:50 a.m.

Nigeria is warning citizens not to travel to the United States, saying several Nigerians with valid visas have been put on the next plane home.

Nigeria is not on the list of six Muslim-majority African nations whose citizens President Donald Trump wants to bar from entering the United States.

But the special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and the diaspora says in a statement that several Nigerians with valid multiple-entry visas have been refused entry to the United States. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (ah-BEE’-kay dah-BEE’-ree EH’-reh-wah) says their visas were canceled when they landed and they were put on the next plane home.

She advises: “Nigerians who have no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S. to postpone their travel plans until the new administration’s policy on immigration is clear.”


10:30 a.m.

Iraq says a revised U.S. travel ban that removes the country from a list of Muslim-majority nations sends a “positive message” about the future of bilateral relations as the two countries work to combat the Islamic State group.

Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi says the decision to revise the ban shows that there is a “real partnership” between Washington and Baghdad.

An earlier version of the travel ban, which was signed in January before being suspended by the courts, banned Iraqis and the citizens of six other countries from entering the United States. The move sparked anger among many Iraqis, and prompted lawmakers to call for a reciprocal order banning Americans from Iraq.


9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s new travel ban order will temporarily halt entries to the United States for people from six Muslim-majority countries who are seeking new visas.

That’s according to a fact sheet distributed to lawmakers and obtained by The Associated Press.

Trump will sign the order on Monday. The new directive aims to address legal issues that arose from the original order, which was blocked by the courts.

According to the fact sheet, people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen who do not currently have valid visas will be blocked from coming to the U.S. for 90 days.

Iraq was originally included on the list of banned countries. But according to the fact sheet, Iraq was removed from the order after agreeing to increase cooperation with the U.S. government on vetting of its citizens applying for a travel visa.


3:20 a.m.

A revised executive order temporarily barring the entry of people from certain Muslim-majority countries and halting the nation’s refugee program is headed to President Donald Trump.

A White House official says plans to roll out the order are on track for Monday. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the order ahead of the official announcement.

The new order has been in the works since shortly after a federal court blocked Trump’s initial effort, but the administration has repeatedly pushed back the signing as it has worked to better coordinate with the agencies that it will need to implement the ban.

Trump administration officials have said the new order aims to overcome legal challenges to the first.