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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

'I got handcuffed and just started crying': Sudanese student describes US detention

Reuters , Sunday 29 Jan 2017
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A Sudanese student with U.S. legal residency said on Saturday she was briefly handcuffed at a New York airport, following President Donald Trump's order restricting entry into the United States for people from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Nisrin Elamin, 39, a Stanford PhD student in anthropology who has lived in the United States since 1993, said she landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday night and was detained for about five hours.

Trump's order signed on Friday upended the travel plans of people without U.S. citizenship who were arriving in the United States from those seven countries, including Syria, Iran and Sudan, causing confusion and sparking protests at airports as immigrants and refugees were stranded.

Elamin said she had been in Sudan for academic research and boarded a plane on Friday morning. After presenting her U.S. green card, a designation of legal permanent residence, at JFK, she said she was questioned, patted down and handcuffed.

"It was an uncomfortable pat down, they touched my breast area and my groin area," Elamin said in a phone interview. "Then I got handcuffed and I just started crying."

Elamin said the handcuffs were soon removed and it appeared authorities were using them to escort people between areas of the airport.

Elamin was released, but she worried about leaving the country again and about her parents in Sudan, whom she hoped one day to help immigrate to America.

"It scares me that I'm not able to see them if I want to," said Elamin, who lives in New Jersey.

Trump's executive order means legal permanent residents who have passports from the seven countries have to be cleared back into the United States on a case-by-case basis, a senior U.S. administration official told reporters.

The Department of Homeland Security, which overseas entry at airports, in a statement later said it will "treat all of those we encounter humanely and with professionalism."

The executive order also upended the plans of some people planning to leave the United States.

Shirana Navabha, 57, a U.S. citizen originally from Iran, said she was scheduled to fly to Iran on Sunday, but will not go after Tehran said it would stop U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Trump's action.

"I told everybody that I'm coming, everyone was so excited and now I'm not going, it's just frustrating," Navabha, who lives in Dallas, said by phone.

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