- Protests during the weekend over President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions
- Protesters showed support for refugees, immigrants
- Protest set for Monday on USF campus
- President Trump issues statement on “extreme vetting”
Some Republicans in Congress urged caution amid legal challenges to the order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, though top congressional Republicans remain largely behind the new president.
In a background call with reporters Sunday, a senior administration official declared the order’s implementation “a massive success story,” claiming it had been done “seamlessly and with extraordinary professionalism.”
The order barred U.S. border agents from removing anyone who arrived in the U.S. with a valid visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It also covered anyone with an approved refugee application.
Meanwhile, demonstrations took place during the weekend all across the country, including in the Bay area. A small gathering of protesters gathered in downtown Tampa and near West-shore Mall Saturday night. Today, more protests are expected, including at gathering set to take place at noon at the MLK Plaza on the University of South Florida campus.
The Department of Homeland Security said Sunday the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of the White House order.
Trump’s order, which also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria, has sparked widespread protests and denunciations from Democrats and a handful of Republicans. Many have accused the administration of rushing to implement the changes, resulting in panic and confusion at the nation’s airports.
President Trump released a lengthy statement Sunday on Facebook, saying in part:
“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months,” Trump wrote. “The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.”
Today’s protest in Tampa will be happening at the same time Senate Democrats may be moving on legislation that could block the President’s executive orders.
Democrats agree, however, that anything short of court action may not be enough to block the temporary ban.
State lawmakers Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Kathy Castor both issued statements on Sunday.
“We have to do everything we can to protect ourselves from those who want to do us harm,” Nelson said. “But a hastily-issued policy that bans everyone from one of these seven countries from entering the U.S. – including the Iraqi interpreters who served alongside our troops in Iraq – is not the answer.”
Said Castor: “President Trump’s executive order targeting and banning legal permanent residents and refugees from war-torn areas is illegal, immoral and un-American. It has made us less safe. If the President wants to empower jihadists, this is the way to do it.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.