By Roland Oliphant and Ruth SherlocknnWASHINGTON: Travellers with valid visas and green cards have reportedly been prevented from boarding flights and turned away at US border control after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States, according to Telegraph.nnLawyers have announced a legal challenge to the order, which the US Department for Homeland Security confirmed on Saturday afternoon applies to green card holders, meaning lawful permanent residents of the United States will be barred from returning if they travel abroad.nnMr Trump signed an executive order closing US borders to all refugees for a period of at least four months and temporarily banning all travellers from half a dozen countries, regardless of whether they have already been issued visas, on Friday evening.nn”We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said as he signed the order at the Pentagon. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”nnThe order, which came into force as soon as Mr Trump signed it, requires US border officials to turn away any traveller from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for the next 90 days.nnWith only a few exceptions for diplomats and dual citizens, the order takes no account of whether travellers have already been issued with visas or have visited the United States before.nnThere were immediate reports of travellers who had been issued visas for travel being turned away or told not to board flights because of the ban.nnBanned from the Academy AwardsnnThey included an Iranian film director nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category who will be unable to attend this year’s ceremony in the wake of President Trump’s ban.nnAsghar Farhadi is nominated for The Salesman , which tells of a couple whose relationship is thrown into disarray after an intruder surprises her in the shower.nnMeanwhile, Mohammed Al Rawi, a graduate of California State University and former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, said his father had been hauled off a flight in Qatar as a direct result of Mr Trump’s decision.nnHe wrote on Facebook hours after the order was signed:nn”My 69 year old dad is in Qatar boarding LAX flight to come visit us and and he’s being sent back to Iraq. Some US official told him that Trump canceled all visas,” said Mohammed Al Rawi on his facebook postnnFive Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday.nnThe passengers, arriving in transit to Cairo airport, were stopped and re-directed to flights headed for their home countries despite holding valid visas, Reuters reported.nnSome airlines have warned that all passengers whose journeys began in any of the seven countries may be affected, even if their own citizenship is not on the “banned” list.nnVera Mironova, a Russian citizen returning from an academic research trip to Iraq, said she had been warned at check in that she may not be allowed into the US despite holding a green card.nn”I just talked to Lufthansa guys and since an hour ago they need to inform all people traveling from Iraq about this possibility,” she said before boarding on Saturday afternoon.nnLawyers mount legal challenge to refugee bannnDonald Trump’s decision to close America’s borders to refugees was causing confusion and chaos at airports across the US, as people fleeing war zones were turned away by customs officials.nnBut the ban is now being met with several high profile challenges from lawyers at civil rights organisations who say that the demands made in the executive order may be illegal.nnThe Immigration and Nationality Act, implemented by congress in 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin. President Lyndon B Johnson said as he signed the law that ?the harsh injustice? of the national-origins quota system had been ?abolished.?nnThe law states that no person could be ?discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person?s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.?nnThe detentions at airports around the US have prompted legal challenges. The New York Times reported that lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees held at Kennedy Airport filed a writ of habeas corpus early Saturday in the Eastern District of New York seeking to have their clients released. At the same time, they filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.nnOne of the Iraqis, Khalid Darweesh, worked for the US government in Iraq for a decade. Whilst the other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to the United States to join his wife and young son, the lawyers said.nnThe attorneys said they were barred from meeting with their clients. When they asked who they needed to talk to to remedy this, a Customs and Border Protection official told them to “call Mr Trump”.nnOne of the lawyers is from the Refugee Assistance Project. The group said in a statement that the executive order is ?irresponsible and dangerous?.nnThe organisation said: ?Denying thousands of the most persecuted refugees the chance to reach safety is an irresponsible and dangerous move that undermines American values and imperils our foreign relations and national security.nn?IRAP works with hundreds of the most vulnerable refugees ? children with medical emergencies, survivors of gender-based violence and torture, and Afghan and Iraqi allies to U.S. forces, to name a few ? who will be left in immediate life-threatening danger.nn?For many of them, resettlement in the United States is their only option to live safely and with dignity.?nnGoogle recalls staff after Trump immigration bannnThe order also sparked concern in the business world.nnGoogle recalled all travelling staff members to the United States following the order amid concern about the possible impact on recruiting top talent abroad.nnA Google spokesperson said: “We?re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”nnMark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, wrote in a post on Saturday that he was “concerned” about the impact of the orders and that he would be working with Fwd.US, a charity he supports, to develop protections for child immigrants brought to the US at a young age by their parents.nnThe order signed by Mr Trump also imposes a 120-day suspension the US refugee resettlement programme, regardless of applicants? country of origin, while administration officials develop additional vetting procedures and decide which countries those procedures are ?adequate? to ensure safety.nnSyrian refugees are singled out as ?detrimental to the interests of the United States? and banned from entering the country indefinitely.nnThe U.S. may admit refugees on a case-by-case basis during the freeze, and the government will continue to process requests from people claiming religious persecution, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country.”nnThe order suspended a resettlement programme that allowed 85,000 people fleeing war, hunger, and political or religious persecution, to be resettled in the US last year.nnPaul Ryan, the republican speaker of the House, said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa-vetting process.”nnAt a glance | Donald Trump?s immigration bannnOn Friday 27 January, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily blocking travel for immigrants from seven ?terror prone? Muslim-majority countries.nnThe ban is expected to last at least four months and will not apply to religious minorities ‘fleeing Muslim persecution’ from those countries – for example, Christians.nnThree of these countries are already on the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list, which mandates strict economic sanctions affecting economic assistance, trade and the protection of international law.nn1. IrannnHas been on the list since 1984. It has sponsored terror groups in Gaza and deployed its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to promote its interests in the wider Middle East. The IRGC has provided advisory and combat assistance to the Assad regime in Syria.nn2. SudannnHas been on the list since 1993. The Sudanese government has cooperated with US anti-terror initiatives, but the country harbours a strong al-Qaeda network, Hezbollah operatives and the Lord?s Resistance Army.nn3. SyriannHas been a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1979. A staunch supporter of Iran?s efforts to rearm Hezbollah, the government also allowed Islamist fighters to travel through the country en route to conflicts in Iraq. These fighters were the genesis of ISIL, which is now headquartered in Syria.nnTwo of the other countries have historically been on the terrorism list:nn4. IraqnnOn the list since 1979, briefly removed during the Iran-Iraq War then re-added with the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. George W Bush removed the country from the official terror list in 2004, but Iraq is now a significant stronghold for ISIL.nn5. LibyannOn the list since 1979, but officially removed in 2006 after diplomatic efforts by then-leader Muammar Gaddafi. Following the Libyan government?s collapse into civil war and until late 2016, ISIL held the port city of Sirte with the aim of using it as a maritime base.nn6. SomaliannTerrorist group al-Shabab is affiliated with al-Qaeda. In 2016, President Barack Obama added the group to a ?perpetrators of 9/11? war authorisation, intensifying US airstrikes against the organisation, in support of the Somali government.nnYemennnBoth sides of the ongoing Yemeni civil war have clashed with al-Qaeda?s branch in Yemen. Notably, the Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed allegiance to this organisation.nnMany Democrats decried the move as ?un-American.?nn”Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon,” said Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader.nnTheresa May refuses to condemn US refugee bannnTheresa May refused to condemn Mr Trump’s decision when she appeared at a joint press conference with Binali Y?ld?r?m, the prime minister of Turkey, following a meeting in Ankara.nnAsked by Faisal Islam, the political editor of Sky News, whether she viewed it as an ?action of the leader of the free world,? the Prime Minister replied that she had been ?very pleased? to have met Mr Trump in Washington.nnShe proceeded to praise Britain’s record on refugees, but avoided commenting on US policy.nn”The United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees,” she said when pressed on the issue a second time.nnMr Y?ld?r?m, commenting on the same issue, said UN members ?cannot turn a blind eye to this issue and settle it by constructing walls?.nnFrance, Germany and Luxembourg also voiced disquiet at the decision.nnJean-Marc Ayrault, the French Foreign Minister said many of Trump’s decisions worried the two U.S. allies, including new immigration restrictions.nn”This can only worry us, but there are many subjects that worry us,” Mr Ayrault said at a joint news conference in Paris with Sigmar Gabriel, his German counterpart.nn”Welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty,” he added.nnMr Gabriel said: “The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people.”nnThe United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on Donald Trump?s administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, saying its resettlement programme was vital.nn”The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement programme is one of the most important in the world,” the two Geneva-based agencies said in a joint statement.nn”We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” they said.nnThe agencies hoped “that the US will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution”.nnSome 25,000 refugees were resettled in the United States between October and year-end under UNHCR’s programme for the most vulnerable, the agency said on Friday.nnThe Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the executive order on Monday.nn”There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said Lena Masri, the group?s director of National Litigation.nnDonald Trump on Muslim countriesnDonald Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the US for any reason – but has significant business interests in Muslim-majority countries.