Two Iraqi refugees were detained at New York's JFK airport Friday night as they were attempting to enter the United States following President Donald Trump signing an executive order on Friday temporarily barring Syrian refugees and people from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
According to the New York Times, the two detainees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, were flying to the U.S. on two separate flights and were detained by Customs and Border Patrol agents once they reached the U.S.
Darweesh, according to the Times, worked on behalf of the U.S. in Iraq for nearly a decade, while Alshawi was flying to the U.S. to join his wife and 7-year-old son who already live in Texas.
Since being detained, lawyers working on behalf of the two detainees have filed a writ of habeas corpus in New York federal court, arguing that Darweesh and Alshawai have been illegally detained. In addition, the Times reports that the lawyers sought class certification for their lawsuit in an attempt to represent all refugees or immigrants being detained at U.S. port of entries because of Trump's executive order.
According to the Times, federal agents also prevented the lawyers from reaching their clients.
"Who is the person we need to talk to?" Mark Doss, one of the lawyers representing the men, asked a CBP agent.
"Mr. President," the unnamed CBP agent reportedly replied. "Call Mr. Trump."
More from the Times:
Mr. Trump’s order, which suspends entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, created a legal limbo for individuals on the way to the United States and panic for families who were awaiting their arrival.
Mr. Trump’s order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and it bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Admission of those immigrants and refugees will only resume after the vetting process has been signed off by the secretary of state, which will soon be Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and the director of national intelligence, which will soon be Dan Coats, who is also awaiting Senate confirmation.
The legal complaints filed on behalf of the detained were filed by: International Refugee Assistance Project, the ACLU, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and the National Immigration Law Center.
It is not immediately clear if any other refugees are being detained and held at other U.S. ports of entry.