An Iranian scientist heading to a laboratory in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family heading to a new life in Ohio, are currently being detained in airports across the US.
This is as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
In a report, The New York Times said the immigration policy “reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday”.
Humanitarian organisations reportedly scrambled to cancel long-planned programmes, delivering the news to families who were about to travel.
Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were also detained at airports.
Trump’s order suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
An official message to all American diplomatic posts around the world provided instructions about how to treat people from the countries affected.
The newspaper said there was confusion at airports around the world, as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States.
In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials reportedly turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight they had boarded.
Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, a leading young scientist in Iran, had been scheduled to travel in the coming days to Boston, where he had been awarded a fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard, according to Thomas Michel, the professor who was to supervise the research fellowship.
But Michel said the visas for the student and his wife had been indefinitely suspended.
“This outstanding young scientist has enormous potential to make contributions that will improve our understanding of heart disease, and he has already been thoroughly vetted,” Michel wrote to The New York Times.
“This country and this city have a long history of providing research training to the best young scientists in the world, many of whom have stayed in the USA, and made tremendous contributions in biomedicine and other disciplines.”
A Syrian family of six who have been living in a Turkish refugee camp since fleeing their home in 2014 had been scheduled to arrive in Cleveland on Tuesday, according to a report in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Instead, the family’s trip has been called off.
Earlier in the week, two Kenyans and 90 Somalis were deported from the US.