Muslim travelers have reported being prevented from boarding flights and turned away at US border control after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States.
Mr Trump signed an executive order closing US borders to all refugees for a period of at least four months and temporarily banning all traveler from half a dozen countries, regardless of whether they have already been issued visas, on Friday evening.
“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.”
The order, which came into force as soon as Mr Trump signed it, requires US border officials to turn away any travelers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for the next 90 days.
With only a few exceptions for diplomats and dual citizens, the order takes no account of whether travelers have already been issued with visas or have visited the United States before.
There were immediate reports of travelers who had been issued visas for travel being turned away or told not to board flights because of the ban.
Mohammed Al Rawi, a graduate of California State University and former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, said his father had been hauled off a flight in Qatar as a direct result of Mr Trump’s decision.
“My 71 year old dad is in Qatar boarding LAX flight to come visit us and he’s being sent back to Iraq. Some US official told him that Trump canceled all visas,” he wrote on Facebook hours after the order was signed.
Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday.
The passengers, arriving in transit to Cairo airport, were stopped and re-directed to flights headed for their home countries despite holding valid visas, Reuters reported.