Nixed travel ban leads to emotional reunions at U.S. airports

Immigrants enter U.S. again

President Trump lashed out this weekend at the federal judge who issued a temporary restraining order blocking his travel ban nationwide. The suspension of the executive order means previously banned immigrants and refugees are again entering the country.

Before the judge’s order, the travel ban caused another weekend of protests around the country. Demonstrators also gathered in London, Berlin, Paris and Hong Kong.

Lawyers inside the terminal tell us there have been no serious problems with people entering the U.S. since the ban was halted on Friday, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil. But if the president’s executive order is restored, those travelers could once again face legal uncertainty.

It was the reunion Ammar Abdullah had hoped to experience Thursday until his brother and sister were stopped from boarding their EgyptAir flight. With President Trump’s order temporarily suspended, the siblings who are from Yemen were finally allowed into the U.S. Sunday night. 

“How was it getting through?” Dokoupil asked.

“It was very easy,” Abdullah said, translating his brother’s answer.

Abdusebur Jemal greeted his Yemeni wife and young daughter at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. A refugee from Ethiopia, Jemal is now a U.S. citizen with degrees from Stanford and Yale. He’s studying to be a doctor.

“I have always believed in the institutions of this country, foundations on which this country was built. It’s about justice. It’s about compassion. So, it’s just a great moment,” Jemal said.

Last week, the family of a 4-month-old Iranian girl couldn’t get her a visa. Now, she will be allowed to fly to Oregon for life-saving heart surgery.

Renee Paradis is one of the volunteer lawyers helping travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the biggest point of entry into the U.S. for people flying from abroad.

“We’re trying to make sure that everyone we came in contact with who was deported, who was turned away at the airport, has learned of the change and is making arrangements to come here as quickly as possible,” Paradis said.

President Trump warned about the dangers of lifting the ban, tweeting, “many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision.”

But others are celebrating.

The reprieve to the ban led to emotional scenes in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other airports nationwide.

“Once people get into the United States, is there a risk they could be ejected?” Dokoupil asked.

“There’s always a risk of deportation if the rules change, but obviously any such attempt by the administration will be challenged by the lawyers who have been doing such great work in the courts this past week,” Paradis said.

According to the U.N., the travel ban upended plans to resettle about 800 refugees in the U.S. last week. A JFK, lawyers believe about a dozen people with reinstated visas were able to enter this weekend.