CAIRO — Cairo airport officials said on Saturday that seven US-bound migrants — six from Iraq and one from Yemen — have been prevented from boarding an EgyptAir flight to New York’s JFK airport.
The officials said the action by the airport was the first since US President Donald Trump imposed a three-month ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
The officials said the seven migrants, escorted by officials from the UN refugee agency, were stopped from boarding the plane after authorities at Cairo airport contacted their counterparts in JFK airport.
Qatar Airways also advised passengers bound for the United States from seven newly banned majority Muslim countries that they needed to have either a US green card or diplomatic visa.
“Nationals of the following countries: Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen … may travel to the US only if they are in possession of a permanent resident card (Green card) or any of the below visas,” it said in a statement on its website.
It listed foreign government, United Nations, international organization and NATO visas.
Trump signed a sweeping new executive order Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.
Trump barred all refugees from entering the United States for four months — and those from war-ravaged Syria indefinitely. No visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly-Muslim countries.
The Friday order immediately suspended a program that last year resettled to the US roughly 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice. Trump indefinitely blocked all those fleeing Syria, where a civil war has displaced millions of people, and imposed a 90-day ban on entry to the US from seven Muslim majority nations.
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said as he signed the order at the Pentagon. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
Trump said the halt in the refugee program was necessary to give government agencies time to develop a stricter vetting system.
But the order did spell out what additional steps he wants the Homeland Security and State departments to take.
The US may admit refugees on a case-by-case basis during the freeze, and the government will continue to process requests from people claiming religious persecution, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual›s country.”
In an interview with CBN News, Trump said persecuted Christians would be given priority in applying for refugee status. — Agencies