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Hugs and tears at US airports as Donald Trump’s travel ban is lifted

Airlines around the world allowed people to board flights as usual to the United States.

world Updated: Feb 06, 2017 09:19 IST
California student Sara Yarjani (R) receives a hug from a friend after arriving at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday.
California student Sara Yarjani (R) receives a hug from a friend after arriving at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday.(AP photo)

Travellers from the seven predominantly Muslim countries targeted by US President Donald Trump enjoyed tearful reunions with loved ones in the US after a federal judge swept the ban aside.

Airlines around the world allowed people to board flights as usual to the United States. One lawyer waiting at New York’s Kennedy Airport said visa and green-card holders from Iraq and Iran were encountering no problems as they arrived.

“It’s business as usual,” said Camille Mackler of the New York Immigration Coalition.

Fariba Tajrostami, a 32-year-old painter from Iran, came through the gate at Kennedy with a huge smile and tears in her eyes as her brothers greeted her with joyful hugs. “I’m very happy. I haven’t seen my brothers for nine years,” she said.

Read: Donald Trump’s week: Amid name-calling, tweets and bullying, some moments of calm

Tajrostami had tried to fly to the US from Turkey over a week ago but was turned away.

“I was crying and was so disappointed,” she said. “Everything I had in mind, what I was going to do, I was so disappointed about everything. I thought it was all over.”

Fariba Tajrostami of Iran is embraced by her brothers at John F Kennedy International Airport after arriving on her flight from Istanbul. . (AP photo)

Tajrostami said she hopes to study art in the US and plans to join her husband in Dallas soon. He moved from Iran six months ago, has a green card and is working at a car dealership.

Similar scenes played out across the US two days after a federal judge in Seattle suspended the president’s travel ban and just hours after a federal appeals court denied the Trump administration’s request to set aside the ruling.

The US cancelled the visas of up to 60,000 foreigners in the week after the ban on travel from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen took effect, according to the state department. Trump also suspended nearly all refugee admissions for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.

The order triggered protests and a multitude of legal challenges around the country and blocked numerous college students, researchers and others from entering the US.

Ali Abdullah Alghazali (R), 13, from Yemen walks with his father Abdullah Alghazali and his uncle after arriving at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sunday. (AP photo)

Trump, who said the goal was to keep terrorists from slipping into the country, lashed out against US district judge James Robart for putting the ban on hold. He referred to Robart as a “so-called judge” and called the ruling “ridiculous.”

Read: Trump’s travel ban: All you need to know about US President’s immigration order

On Sunday, the president tweeted: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

At JFK on Sunday evening, Abdullah Alghazali hugged and kissed his 13-year-old son, Ali Abdullah Alghazali, who he had not seen in six years. That wait was made even longer by Trump’s executive order.