The United States has granted waivers to allow 872 refugees into the country this week, shortly after President Donald Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban refugees from entering the country.
According to an anonymous Homeland Security official, the waivers were granted to refugees who were already “in transit” and had been cleared for resettlement before the ban was initiated, the Daily Mail reports. The report came from an internal Department of Homeland Security document seen by Reuters.
The waivers came in the wake of international protests over Trump’s executive order to ban people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The seven countries included Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Iran and Yemen.
The executive order was criticized by thousands of protesters who called it un-American and discriminatory. Former President Barack Obama even issued a statement, saying that “American values are at stake,” The Telegraph reported.
Still, Trump insisted that the temporary ban was to keep the United States safe “from foreign terrorist entry.”
The Department of Homeland Security document did not specify the nationalities or religions of the refugees who will be admitted into the United States. It is unknown at this time if any additional waivers will be granted.
The document also stated that 348 visa holders were prevented from boarding U.S.-bound flights between Jan. 27 and Jan. 30. An additional 200 people landed in the United States, but were denied entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers pulled 735 people aside for questioning, 394 of which were legal permanent U.S. residents holding green cards, according to the document.
Under the waivers, the 872 refugees are being screened using procedures similar to the Obama administration, according to the Daily Mail. The DHS said on Jan. 29 that green card holders will be allowed to board U.S.-bound flights, but may be questioned upon arrival. They added that some people from the countries listed in the ban will be allowed into the country on a case-by-case basis.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Telegraph / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons