The Allure of the Seas returned this morning to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale after a week long cruise. When the Allure docked, some of the passengers were in for a shock.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protective (CBP) reportedly requested the captain of the cruise ship to first disembark green card holders from the seven Muslim-based countries subject to President Trump's executive order, which bans citizens from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days
I was contacted this morning about the situation at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale. A passenger said that there are several guests who sailed on the cruise who are from Iraq and Iran who hold green cards (which makes them legal permanent U.S. residents). It currently is unknown how many passengers have been detained, or whether crew members have also been affected.
The executive order, signed by President Trump on Friday night, has thrown confusion into the handling of many people trying to enter the U.S. this weekend.
Yesterday, a Department of Homeland Security official said people holding green cards are included in President Trump's executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
There is uncertainty whether the green card holders will be barred from re-entering the U.S. or whether they will have to undergo additional screening.
"It will bar green card holders," Gillian Christensen, acting Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, told Reuters yesterday. But other representatives at Homeland Security have been quoted as saying that green card holders will be permitted to enter but will have to be subject to "extreme vetting."
The affected passengers were returning on a gay cruise chartered by Atlantis. Many returning cruisers not directly affected by the ban have remained at the cruise terminal to show solidarity with the detained passengers.
It is likely that others passengers at other U.S. ports will be detained, and either banned from entering the U.S. or subject to added vetting.
President Trump has claimed that the purpose behind the executive order is to "keep America safe." But it's hard to imagine how banning legal residents from returning from a holiday cruise will accomplish that goal.
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Update: The Miami Herald is covering the story - I’ve Been Detained at Broward Port, Cuise Passenger With a Green Card Says.
January 30, 2017 Update: It seems that there were cruise passengers detained at other ports yesterday.
Florida Today writes that seven people, including a woman of Syrian origin and her three U.S. born children, were retained by CPB for over 6 hours in Port Canaveral yesterday.
The Global Nation writes today about an Iraqi-born woman of Swedish citizenship, married to an U.S. citizen who arrived in an unidentified port in Florida. Even though she is a legal permanent resident holding a green card, she was separated from her husband when the cruise ship returned to port. "... she felt confused and afraid while being bombarded with questions. Her husband had to wait outside. . . They asked me where I was born, when did I leave Iraq, how did I come to America, who sponsored me, what does my husband do, and what countries have I lived in.” After three hours of questioning, she was finally let go. “I was the in same room as someone being accused of child pornography,” she says. “That’s how low they made me feel, just because I was in Iraq 27 years ago.”