The refugee travel ban is certainly shaking things up

It’s been pretty obvious from the beginning that there’s nothing President Trump likes more than stirring the pot and kicking the game into high gear. His executive order blocking refugees and immigrants from seven primarily Muslim nations has clearly had that effect. Things escalated quickly (as the cool kids like to say) after two Iraqis showed up at JFK airport in New York and were immediately detained. Their entirely predictable response was to immediately file a lawsuit. (CNN)

Lawyers for two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been granted visas to enter the United States have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and the US government after they were detained when they arrived in New York Friday.

The lawsuit could represent the first legal challenge to Trump’s controversial executive order, which indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

The two Iraqis were part of a slightly larger group. We’re seeing reports that as many as a dozen people may have been detained. After the two Iraqi men had been held for a while, one was released, but it was initially unclear whether he’d be staying or was to be put on a plane and sent back. In the next hour or two he was released and immediately went to make the rounds of the press.

One of the men being held at John F. Kennedy International Airport has been released, according to a tweet from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York.

The tweet says Hameed Jhalid Darweesh has been released from detention. There is no word on whether he is free to go or if he is being released to get back on a plane.

The situation continued to heat up on both the foreign and domestic fronts. At the airport, a group of protesters showed up with hastily assembled signs and began chanting about no bans, no walls… basically “no Trump” from the looks of it. CNN and the other networks were immediately attracted like flies and by early afternoon I think they’d already spent more time covering this protest than the amount of screen time that the entire March for Life received. Present on the scene was Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of New York City Immigrant Affairs. (The Mayor’s office, in case you hadn’t guessed.) She began tweeting out some of the protest action.

On the foreign front we had another development. Iran, being one of the seven countries on the list, issued a statement saying that they were going to ban all American travel to their country. (Reuters)

Iran said on Saturday it would stop U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington’s visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries announced by new U.S. President Donald Trump.

“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America… are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists,” said the statement, carried by state media.

It’s not as if there was a steady stream of American traffic heading into Iran every day anyway, but it’s still going to raise the temperature a few more degrees. At this point the entire affair is boiling down to Trump against the protesters who are being very well funded and organized against everything he does. They were certainly on the scene at the airport awfully quickly. As to the situation with Iran, how much would you care to wager that this is a negotiating tactic on the President’s part to soften them up for a different offer? Early to say, but I certainly wouldn’t be shocked.