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Immigrants and Refugees Arrive in US Over Weekend

Ammar Alnajjar, left, shakes hands with his cousin, Fahd Alfakih, after coming into New York's JFK International Airport on a flight from Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 4, 2017.
Ammar Alnajjar, left, shakes hands with his cousin, Fahd Alfakih, after coming into New York's JFK International Airport on a flight from Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 4, 2017.

Immigrants are now making their way into the United States again, after a federal court temporarily halted President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority nations.

Reports say the New York Immigration Coalition has been assisting U.S. green card holders and non-immigrant visa holders who have arrived, without problems, at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Attorney Camille Mackler told the Associated Press on Sunday that "it's been business as usual."

Iranian Fariba Tajrostami received a call Saturday and learned she was being allowed to fly to the U.S. after the court order.

Her two brothers met her at JKF, where she said she feels "very happy" and "secure." Tajrostami was not allowed to board a plane in Istanbul last week after Trump's order.

Fuad Sharef, who worked for a USAID subcontractor in Iraq, was not allowed to board a U.S.-bound flight with his wife and three children. But after the court's decision, Sharef and his family took one of the first planes to Seattle.

Sharef told Reuters he wants to share with his children a lesson he learned after a tumultuous week.

"Yeah, my life changed dramatically. You know, ups and downs, and I learned a lesson that if you have a right, never surrender," he said.

The family departed Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, and planned to make their way to Nashville, Tennessee, where members of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugees Rights Coalition had plans to welcome them.

FILE - Judge James Robart.
FILE - Judge James Robart.

U.S. Judge James Robart, a 69-year-old jurist in the northwest state of Washington known for his conservative legal views, put a nationwide block on Trump's week-old executive order temporarily barring refugees and nationals from seven Muslim majority nations from entering the United States.

Hours after the federal judge blocked President Donald Trump's executive order, the president hurled fresh criticism at the judge, warning that the ruling would allow "many very bad and dangerous people into our country."

"What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.," Trump tweeted. Earlier he called Robart's decision "ridiculous," and vowed to have it overturned.

The Justice Department appealed the judge's decision, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the government’s request to immediately reinstate the temporary travel ban. The court asked the Trump administration and the state of Washington to file more arguments by Monday afternoon.

In the meantime, Nael Zaino, a Syrian refugee who worked for the International Organization for Migration in Turkey, said even though he was put through a secondary screening, a U.S. agent told him to “Go on, start your life, and enjoy your time with your son.”

"I didn't believe it until I came out of the airport. At that moment I realized I'm not in a dream," Zaino added.

Reports said Zaino was reunited with family in Boston Saturday after receiving a waiver from the State Department with the help of U.S. lawmakers who were contacted by Zaino's relatives.

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