Blocked Ban: 33 Syrians, Iraqis And Yemenis Board Flights To US

Citizens of seven countries affected by President Trump’s travel ban have taken immediate advantage of the decision of the U.S. State Department to reinstate visas on Saturday of those travelers affected by the order after a federal judge in Seattle blocked the ban.

Cairo airport officials say a total of 33 U.S.-bound migrants have boarded flights on their way to the United States, taking advantage of a U.S. court’s decision to block President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim majority nations.

They said the 33 came from Yemen, Syria and Iraq and were on flights Sunday to New York’s JFK airport as well as Istanbul, Frankfurt and Paris where they will then fly to the United States.

The officials said the 33 had not previously tried to travel to the United States and been turned back, but rather they are migrants who are rushing to take advantage of the window offered by the court ruling.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Also Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that airlines operating out of Beirut international airport have begun allowing residents of the seven majority Muslim countries affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban to board flights heading to the United States.

Beirut has no direct flights to the U.S. so travelers usually head to Europe before their final destination.

The news agency said Syrian families left Beirut on Sunday; it did not provide a figure.

The judge on Sunday rejected the Trump administration’s request for an immediate reinstatement of the president’s executive order. Formal arguments in the case begin today.

Iranian media are saying the country has lifted a ban on U.S. wrestlers, allowing them to take part in the Freestyle World Cup later this month in the Iranian city of Kermanshah.

The wrestlers were originally banned from the Feb. 16-17 competition after President Donald Trump temporarily suspended travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.

Similarly an Iranian researcher who was prevented from boarding a flight to the U.S. last week, checked in on an Emirates Airline flight in Italy headed for New York, yesterday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nima Enayati said checking in at the Milan airport Sunday went smoothly. But because of disruptions and confusion caused by Trump’s executive order, an airport desk employee told him “she personally would be scared to go to the United States now.”

Enayati has a visa to conduct research on robotic surgery at Stanford University in California. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in Tehran, and a master’s degree from the Milan Polytechnic, where he is working on his doctorate.

The Trump administration is now appealing to reinstate the travel ban. On Sunday, a judge in San Francisco rejected the government’s request for an immediate reinstatement. Formal arguments in the case begin on today.