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Muslim ban: 10 nations could be added to list, say lawyers

Immigration lawyers are advising caution that Trump ban extends to other countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan
Participants at Yemeni rally against Trump's immigration ban in New York (AFP)

US immigration lawyers are advising immigrants from 10 Muslim majority countries to stay in the United States or to return immediately if they are abroad in case President Donald Trump's travel ban is broadened to more countries.

Since last Friday's executive order banning travel from seven Middle Eastern and African countries, US lawyers and activists have speculated that Trump could extend the immigration ban to more than the current seven countries. 

The ban has prompted global condemnation and mass protests throughout the United States and beyond as the Trump administration has continued to defend the policy.

Protestors rally outside DHS office in Chicago against Trump ban (AFP)

Citizens, dual nationals or those born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have been banned from entering the US for the next 120 days.

Green card holders from the banned countries are also included, while refugees from Iraq and Syria were banned indefinitely from entering the United States.

Now, there is much speculation and caution of other countries that could come to be included within this controversial policy.

One immigration attorney, Kirsty White, who volunteered her time at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to assist those who were stuck trying to enter the US following the ban, describes having to aid families caught up who were not from the seven countries listed.

White explains: "Countries that are not listed on the ban are being impacted. I was at LAX waiting for a family from Afghanistan for over seven hours yesterday. Afghanistan is NOT on the ban."

She added: "If you know any loved ones or people who are from these countries and they are not United States citizens (meaning they are green card holders), they should try to get back to the US immediately."

The 10 countries whose nationals should be cautious are Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela, southern Philippines, trans-Sahara (Mali), and Sulu/Sulawesi.

Others have also made similar warnings.

Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian-American journalist and public speaker, has also expressed similar warnings that, while unconfirmed, an immigration attorney had told her mother "worrying stuff". 

Eltahawy goes on to add that, while her mother has a green card – which provides authorisation to work and live in the US – that an immigration attorney had warned her against leaving the country due to current uncertainties.

Pressure for Trump to reverse this travel ban has mounted as large protests and rallies continue to take place throughout the United States and more widely throughout the globe.

The UN's rights chief, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, described the ban as "mean-spirited" and illegal under international human rights law, saying that "discrimination on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law".

Hussein added, "The US ban is also mean-spirited, and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism."

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.