Yemenis stuck in Africa by travel ban arrive in Los Angeles

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 08, 2017 11:48 PM
Yemenis stuck in Africa by travel ban arrive in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than two dozen Yemenis who were stranded in Africa by President Donald Trump's travel ban flew into Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The group's flight landed at about 4:30 p.m. at Los Angeles International Airport after court orders allowed their travel from Djibouti by way of Turkey. The travelers and their attorney came out of customs about 90 minutes later to little fanfare and few greeters other than a handful of reporters and TV news cameras.

The State Department had claimed their visas were invalidated as part of Trump's temporary ban on travel from Yemen and six other majority Muslim countries. The order also barred visitors from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, for three months and Syrians indefinitely.

Migrants have begun arriving in the U.S. after a federal judge in Seattle put Trump's executive order on hold. Trump administration lawyers have appealed that decision and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule later this week.

Attorney Julie Goldberg filed suit on behalf of 28 Yemeni citizens who had immigrant visas and got stranded in the tiny east African nation. Her clients were all children, parents and spouses of U.S. citizens, she said.

Like many of those caught off guard by the hastily announced travel ban, the Yemenis were in limbo. They couldn't return to Yemen because it is engulfed in civil war and they were running out of money in Djibouti, which is expensive.

"They can't go back to Yemen, they would be killed," Goldberg told The Associated Press last week. "It's super frustrating."

Yemen has been in conflict since 2014 and many Yemenis have fled by boat across the Bab al-Mandab strait to Djibouti or other Horn of Africa countries.

A Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, has been carrying out an air campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for nearly two years in Yemen.