February 4, 2017 11:52:20 pm
Several airlines today gave the green light to passengers wanting to fly to the United States who come from countries hit by President Donald Trump’s travel ban after a US court suspended his order. Seattle US District Judge James Robart yesterday blocked Trump’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim countries, prompting a furious president to condemn it as a “ridiculous” move which he would overturn. Although some airlines said they were waiting to see how the situation develops, carriers including Air France, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss Airways said they would carry nationals of the countries concerned if they have a valid visa.
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Following the court ruling, US authorities today suspended the travel ban.
“We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas,” a State Department spokesman told AFP.
“Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid,” the official said, while a complaint against Trump’s decree by Washington state’s attorney general Bob Ferguson is officially reviewed.
Ferguson said yesterday the court’s suspension of Trump’s order meant “the constitution prevailed” as “no one is above the law — not even the president.”
Trump responded angrily, tweeting that “the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
Among airlines confirming the greenlighting of passengers with valid visas, Air France told AFP that “since this morning we are applying with immediate effect the (US) judicial decision taken overnight. All passengers presenting themselves will embark once their papers are in order to travel to the United States.”
Several other airlines confirmed on their websites they would carry visa-holding passengers even before news emerged of the State Department statement.
An official at Cairo airport indicated on condition of anonymity that carriers had received notice from JFK airport in New York it was dropping application of Trump’s order for US-bound passengers with valid documentation following the court ruling suspending the presidential ban.
Trump last week issued a shock executive order banning for 90 days entry into the US by nationals of seven mainly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and all refugees for 120 days.
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