The Trump administration reportedly will allow 872 refugees into the U.S. despite an executive order signed Friday temporarily suspending the entry of refugees from predominantly Muslim nations into the country, according to a Homeland Security document.
A Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Monday that the particular refugees had already been considered “in transit” and were cleared for resettlement before the ban took place. It’s unclear if additional waivers will be granted.
The hundreds refugees set to be placed in the U.S. this week were screened under the Obama administration. The process usually takes about two years and includes several rounds of questioning and a background check.
According to Reuters, the waivers were granted by Homeland Security and the State Department. It comes after a wave of protests over the weekend against Trump’s executive order. More than 100 travelers from the countries included in the travel ban, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, were detained, deported or blocked from boarding flights to the U.S.
The document reportedly stated that between Friday and Monday, about 348 visa holders were prevented from boarding flights to the U.S. More than 200 people who landed in the U.S. were denied entry. Over the same time period, more than 700 were questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in airports – including 394 legal U.S. residents.
Monday night, Trump relieved acting Attorney General Sally Yates of her duties after she directed the Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trump's controversial executive refugee and immigration ban.
Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, was replaced by Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente, 62, was sworn in Monday evening. He will lead the Justice Department pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee for attorney general, by the Senate.