U.S. immigration targets some Iraqis for deportation in wake of travel ban deal

The badge of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Fugitive Operations team is seen in Santa Ana, California, U.S

By Mica Rosenberg

(Reuters) – U.S. immigration authorities are arresting Iraqi immigrants ordered deported for serious crimes, the U.S. government said on Monday, after Iraq agreed to accept U.S. deportees as part of a deal to remove it from President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

“As a result of recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq, Iraq has recently agreed to accept a number of Iraqi nationals subject to orders of removal,” said Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Christensen said the agency recently arrested a number of individuals, all of whom had criminal convictions for violations ranging from homicide to drug charges and had been ordered removed by an immigration judge. She declined to give more details, citing the ongoing nature of the operation.

Trump has said more countries need to take back nationals ordered deported from the United States and has pledged to increase immigration enforcement.

Al-Hamza Al-Jamaly, the attache at the Iraqi Embassy in Washington said Iraqi diplomatic and consular missions would coordinate with U.S. authorities to issue travel documents for the deportees “that we can prove to be ‘Iraqi’ based on our records and investigation.”

Attorneys, activists and family members told Reuters that ICE officials had arrested dozens of people in the Chaldean Catholic community in Detroit, Michigan and Kurdish Iraqis in Nashville, Tennessee over the weekend and last week.

Many in the communities have been in the United States for decades and were blindsided by the roundups.

Reuters could not independently confirm all of the cases.

The moves come after the U.S. government dropped Iraq from a list of countries targeted by a revised version of Trump’s temporary travel ban issued in March.

The March 6 order said Iraq was taken off the list because the Iraqi government had taken steps “to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal.”

There are approximately 1,400 Iraqi nationals with final orders of removal currently in the United States, according to U.S. officials.

Iraq had previously been considered one of 23 “recalcitrant” countries, along with China, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and others, that refused to cooperate with ICE’s efforts to remove its nationals from the United States, according to congressional testimony by ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale.

Christensen said a deal was struck on March 12 of this year and since then, eight Iraqi nationals had been removed to the country.

At least some of the people who were picked up came to the United States as children, got in trouble years ago and already served their sentences, according to immigration attorneys and local activists. They had been given an effective reprieve from deportation because Iraq would not take them back.

“Suddenly after years of living their lives, and getting past that, they’re being greeted by ICE at the door saying that they’re going to be deported to Iraq,” said Drost Kokoye, a Kurdish-American community organizer in Nashville, home to the largest Kurdish population in the United States.


Some of the weekend arrests took place in Michigan’s Macomb County, which Trump won by 53.6 percent in the 2016 Presidential race, backed by many in the Iraqi Christian community.

At least one family of Trump supporters has been affected by the recent enforcement actions.

Nahrain Hamama said ICE agents came to her house on Sunday morning and arrested her 54-year-old husband Usama Hamama, a supermarket manager who goes by “Sam.” He has lived in the United States since childhood and has four U.S.-born children. During the election, all his U.S. citizen relatives were Trump supporters, Hamama said.

“He forgot his language, he doesn’t speak Arabic anymore. We have no family there on both sides. Where would he go? What would he do? How would he live?” Hamama said. She fears for his health and that he will be targeted by groups in Iraq because of his religion, made more visible because of a cross tattooed on his wrist.

Sam got in trouble with the law in his 20s, in what his wife called a “road rage” incident where he brandished a gun during a fight in traffic. He served time in prison and was ordered deported after being released. For the past seven years he has regularly checked in with immigration officials, his wife said. “It is a shame that for one mistake, that he paid for legally, now he has to pay with his own life.”

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York; additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Washington, Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago, and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Andrew Hay)

Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump, chant ‘Death to America’: TV

Iran President speaking to crowd shouting death to america

By Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning that he had put the Islamic Republic “on notice”, state TV reported.

On the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed shah, marchers including hundreds of military personnel and policemen headed towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square.

They carried “Death to America” banners and effigies of Trump, while a military police band played traditional Iranian revolutionary songs.

State TV showed footage of people stepping on Trump’s picture in a central Tehran street. Marchers carried the Iranian flag and banners saying: “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.”

“America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader”, a young Iranian man told state TV in a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Last week, Trump put Iran “on notice” in reaction to a Jan. 29 Iranian missile test and imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities. Iran said it will not halt its missile program.

Iranian leading religious and political figures, including Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani had called on Iranians to join the rally on Friday to “show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic”.


In a speech marking the revolution’s anniversary, Rouhani urged Iran’s faction-ridden elite to seek unity amid increased tensions with the United States.

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran … They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran,” Rouhani told the crowd at Azadi Square.

“Our nation is vigilant and will make those threatening Iran regret it … They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians … We will strongly confront any war-mongering policies.”

The rallies were rife with anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli sentiment. Some carried pictures of Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May captioned “Death to the Devil Triangle”.

“This turnout of people is a strong response to false remarks by the new leaders of America,” Rouhani told state TV, which said millions had turned out at rallies across Iran.

U.S. flags were burned as is traditional although many Iranians on social media such as Twitter and Facebook used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to urge an end to flag-burning during the anniversary.

They also thanked Americans for opposing Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States to travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran. Trump’s travel ban is being challenged in U.S. courts.

Some marchers carried banners that read : “Thanks to American people for supporting Muslims”.

Both U.S.-based social media sites are blocked in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still commonly used by millions of Iranians who use special software to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.

Trump has criticized a nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States and other major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work. Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year under the deal.

Rouhani defended the deal, which his hardline rivals oppose as a concession to pressure from Washington, saying it protected the Islamic Republic’s rights to nuclear power, ending Iran’s political isolation and crippling economic sanctions.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Appeals court to hear arguments on Trump’s travel ban

Donald Trump speaking to U.S. Central Command

By Dan Levine and Timothy Gardner

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department will face off with opponents in a federal appeals court on Tuesday over the fate of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, his most controversial act since taking office last month.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart suspended Trump’s ban, opening a window for people from the seven affected countries to enter the country.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear arguments over whether to restore the ban from Justice Department lawyers and opposing attorneys for the states of Minnesota and Washington at 3 p.m. PST (6.00 p.m. ET).

In a tweet on Monday night, Trump said: “The threat from radical Islamic terrorism is very real, just look at what is happening in Europe and the Middle-East. Courts must act fast!”

Trump has said the travel measures are designed to protect the country against the threat of terrorism. He has derided Robart, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, as a “so-called judge.”

In a brief filed on Monday, the Justice Department said the suspension of Trump’s order was too broad and “at most” should be limited to people who were already granted entry to the country and were temporarily abroad, or to those who want to leave and return to the United States.

Opponents say the 90-day ban barring entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and imposing a 120-day halt to all refugees, is illegal. The state of Washington argues it has suffered harm, saying some students and faculty at state universities had been stranded overseas because of the ban.

The Republican president’s Jan. 27 executive order sparked protests and chaos at U.S. and overseas airports in the weekend that followed.

All the people who had carried out fatal attacks inspired by Islamist militancy in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had been U.S. citizens or legal residents, the New America think tank said. None came to the United States or were from a family that emigrated from one of the countries listed in the travel ban, it said. (http://bit.ly/2keSmUO)


Trump faces an uphill battle in the liberal-leaning San Francisco court. Two members of three-judge panel that will hear the arguments were appointed by former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, and one was appointed by Bush.

Appeals courts are generally leery of upending the status quo, which in this case is the lower court’s suspension of the ban.

Opponents of the ban received far more filings in support of their position than the Department of Justice. Washington state’s challenge was backed by about a dozen friends-of-the- court briefs submitted by at least 17 state attorneys general, more than 100 companies, and about a dozen labor and civil rights groups. About a dozen conservative groups supported the government in three such briefs.

The appeals court was focusing on the narrow question of whether the district court had grounds to put the order on hold. The bigger legal fight over whether Trump had authority to issue the order will be addressed later in the litigation.

(Additional reporting by Peter Henderson in San Francisco)

U.S. must go on taking refugees, EU migration chief to say in Washington

EU dude for migration saying that the U.S. needs to take migrants/refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top migration official will tell the new U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Washington on Wednesday that the United States cannot shut its doors on refugees despite President Donald Trump’s orders.

The EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, will be the first senior Brussels official to visit Washington since Trump’s inauguration more than two weeks ago.

Much of this time has been dominated by uproar over Trump’s decision to stop allowing refugees into the United States and barring almost any travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, a move he said was needed to ensure his nation’s safety.

The EU is also trying to curb immigration after some 1.6 million people arrived in the bloc in 2014-2016, an uncontrolled influx that caught it unprepared, triggered bitter political disputes between member states and raised security concerns.

The bloc has resorted to tightening its borders, rejecting labor migrants more stringently and tightening asylum rules for refugees. These measures, however, do not go anywhere near Trump’s ban on refugees, which the EU has criticized.

“Refugee resettlement is a global responsibility and it cannot be shouldered by just a handful of countries,” Avramopoulos told Reuters on the eve of his talks with Kelly.

“Nations with a long experience in this field, having hosted millions of migrants and refugees, I hope will continue playing their responsible leading role,” he said in emailed comments.

Should the United States rescind more permanently the international law obligation to help people fleeing war or persecution, it would leave the EU under even more pressure.

Separately on Tuesday, a European court cast doubt on the bloc’s strategy to deal with the migration crisis, by saying EU countries cannot refuse entry to people at risk of torture or inhuman treatment. [nL5N1FS27L]

Avramopoulos and Kelly will also discuss security during their first face-to-face meeting that comes at a delicate time for the transatlantic relationship, with the EU worrying Trump could turn his back on America’s European allies.

“Democracy, equality, the rule of law – these are all values we share with the US. Of course our openness should not come at the expense of our security – but our security objectives should never come at the expense of our fundamental values of openness and tolerance either,” Avramopoulos said.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)

Worried about Trump, asylum seekers walk cold road to Canada

Canadian side of U.S.-Canada border

By Rod Nickel and Anna Mehler Paperny

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) – Refugees in the United States fearing a worsening climate of xenophobia in the wake of a divisive U.S. presidential campaign are flocking to Canada in growing numbers.

Manitoba’s Welcome Place refugee agency helped 91 claimants between Nov. 1 and Jan. 25 – more than the agency normally sees in a year. Most braved the freezing prairie winter to walk into Canada.

“We haven’t had something before like this,” said Maggie Yeboah, president of the Ghanaian Union of Manitoba, which has helped refugees get medical attention and housing. “We don’t know what to do.”

A temporary restraining order by a U.S. judge of President Donald Trump’s executive order that blocked nationwide the implementation of key parts of the travel ban has provided a reprieve for refugees trying to come to the United States.

But Canadian advocacy organizations are bracing for a greater influx of asylum-seekers, driven in part by the contrast between the ruling Liberal government’s acceptance of Syrian refugees in Canada with Trump’s anti-foreigner rhetoric.

“They will make a dash for Canada, whether they are going to go through cold weather to die or not,” said Abdikheir Ahmed, a Somali immigrant in Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg who helps refugees make claims.

Since late summer, 27 men from Ghana walked to Manitoba from the United States, Yeboah said. Two lost all their fingers to frostbite in December and nearly froze to death.

More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada in 2016 through land ports of entry from the United States, up 63 percent from the previous year, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Over 2,000 more entered “irregularly” during a similar time period, without official authorization, such as across unmonitored fields.

Four hundred and thirty asylum seekers crossed Manitoba’s border irregularly in the first nine months of 2016-17, up from 340 the entire previous year, CBSA said.

“The U.S. presidential campaign, putting undocumented immigrants and refugees in the spotlight, terrified them,” said Ghezae Hagos, counselor at Welcome Place. “The election and inauguration of Mr. Trump appears to be the final reason for those who came mostly last month.”

In Quebec, 1,280 refugee claimants irregularly entered between April 2016 and January 2017, triple the previous year’s total.

In British Columbia and Yukon, 652 people entered Canada irregularly in 2016, more than double the previous year.

More of these people would enter at border crossings, advocates say, if Canada didn’t have a policy of turning many of them away when they do. The 2004 Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement requires people to apply for asylum in the first of the two countries they arrive in. Advocates argue the agreement inadvertently encourages people to dangerously sneak into Canada and make a claim rather than be rebuffed at the border.

If the government doesn’t abandon this agreement, they say, it could find itself in court.

The number of refugee applicants crossing the land border under exceptions to the Safe Third Country Agreement has risen by 16 percent in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same time period the year before.

In Buffalo, New York, hundreds of people are streaming through Vive, a shelter that helps refugee applicants to Canada.

Vive’s client numbers, including long-time U.S. residents and refugees, spiked last summer and have stayed consistently high since – two or three times what they’d normally see a year or two ago. Vive’s Canadian service manager Mariah Walker expects to see even more.

“Clients are definitely spooked by (Trump’s) executive orders,” said Walker.


Prime Minister Trudeau took office in 2015 on a commitment to admit tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

“While the majority of the world is turning their backs and building walls, the fact that Trudeau took this bold humanitarian goal put [Canada] on the map,” said Chris Friesen, director of settlement services at Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia.

But this year, Canada plans to take only 7,500 government-assisted refugees – less than half last year’s number. People eager to sponsor refugees find themselves waiting years to do so.

Anisa Hussein, 20, and Lyaan Mohammed, 19, hired a smuggler to take them from Somalia to Minneapolis in August, where they planned to settle in a large Somali community. But Trump’s anti-refugee rhetoric frightened them into traveling to Manitoba days later.

“(Trump) said he would turn away the refugees and we would go back to Somalia,” said Mohammed, peeking timidly from behind the hood of a thick parka she received in Canada for winter. “We were so scared. We just wanted to be [in] a safe place.”

They rode a bus and taxi to North Dakota, then walked for hours into Emerson, Manitoba and filed refugee claims.

They might have been able to cross at a port of entry if Canada’s policies were different, says Canadian Council for Refugees executive director Janet Dench.

Her organization, as well as Amnesty International and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, are demanding Canada abandon the Safe Third Country Agreement: Trump’s United States is no safe haven, they argue.

The government is standing by the agreement, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the House of Commons last week.

If the government doesn’t act, Dench said, her group will sue.

“We are talking about people’s charter rights. … So, yes, we would expect to see something in the courts.”

For a graphic on Csnadian refugee claims, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2keMDuH

(Additional writing by Andrea Hopkins; additional reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver, editing by Edward Tobin)

Legal battles to test Trump and his immigration ban

Protesters against travel ban

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban faced on Monday the first of several crucial legal hurdles that could determine whether he can push through the most controversial and far reaching policy of his first two weeks in office.

The government has a deadline to justify the executive order temporarily barring entry of people from seven mostly Muslim countries and the entry of refugees after a federal judge in Seattle blocked it with a temporary restraining order on Friday.

The uncertainty caused by a judge’s stay of the ban has opened a window for travelers from the seven affected countries to enter the United States.

Trump has reacted with attacks on the federal judge and then the wider court system which he blames for hampering his efforts to restrict immigration, a central promise of the Republican’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Democrats, meanwhile, sought to use Trump’s attacks on the judiciary to raise questions about the independence of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over the weekend denied the Trump administration’s request for an immediate stay of the federal judge’s temporary restraining order that blocked nationwide the implementation of key parts of the travel ban.

But the court said it would consider the government’s request after receiving more information.

The government has until 3 p.m. PST (2300 GMT) on Monday to submit additional legal briefs to the appeals court justifying Trump’s executive order. Following that the court is expected to act quickly, and a decision either way may ultimately result in the case reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.

Top technology giants, including Apple, Google and Microsoft banded together with nearly 100 companies on Sunday to file a legal brief opposing Trump’s immigration ban, arguing that it “inflicts significant harm on American business.”

Noting that “immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list,” the brief said Trump’s order “represents a significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years.”

The controversial executive order also “inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result,” the brief added.

Trump, who during his campaign called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, has repeatedly vowed to reinstate the Jan. 27 travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day bar on all refugees in the name of protecting the United States from Islamist militants.

His critics have said the measures are discriminatory, unhelpful and legally dubious.

Ten former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials, who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, filed overnight a declaration in the court case against the executive order arguing the ban serves no national security purposes.

The declaration was signed by former secretaries of state including John Kerry, Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice and former CIA Directors Michael Hayden and Michael Morell.

Bob Ferguson, the Washington State attorney general who filed the Seattle lawsuit, said he was confident of victory.

“We have a checks and balance system in our country, and the president does not have totally unfettered discretion to make executive orders as he chooses,” he told NBC News’ “Today” show. “In the courtroom, it’s not the loudest voice that prevails… it’s the Constitution.”

On Sunday, Trump broadened his Twitter attacks on U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who issued the temporary stay on Friday, to include the “court system.” Trump a day earlier derided Robart, who was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, as a “so-called judge.”

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “If something happens blame him and court system.”

Trump did not elaborate on what threats the country potentially faced.

It is unusual for a sitting president to attack a member of the judiciary. Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump, even as other Republicans urged the businessman-turned-politician to avoid firing such fusillades against the co-equal judicial branch of government, which the U.S. Constitution designates as a check on the power of the presidency and Congress.

Democrats, still smarting from Republicans’ refusal last year to allow the Senate to consider former Democratic President Barack Obama’s nomination of appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, have seized on Trump’s attacks to question his nomination last week of Gorsuch.

“With each action testing the Constitution, and each personal attack on a judge, President Trump raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court,” Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, said in a statement. “His ability to be an independent check will be front and center throughout the confirmation process.”

Republicans hope to swiftly confirm Gorsuch, a 49-year-old conservative appeals court judge tapped by Trump to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago.

(Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chizu Nomiyama)

U.S. moves to resume admitting refugees, including Syrians

displaced Syrian boy

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department on Saturday moved to begin admitting refugees, including Syrians, as soon as Monday after a federal judge on Friday blocked a Trump administration temporary ban on refugee admissions.An email from the State Department’s refugee office reviewed by Reuters Saturday said the U.S. government is working with its legal team and interagency and overseas partners to comply with the ruling.

Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order had suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely barred Syrian refugees but U.S. Judge James Robart in Seattle on Friday blocked the president’s order.

A U.S. State Department official told Reuters on Saturday that officials “expect some refugees to arrive Monday.”

The U.S. instructed the International Organization for Migration “to rebook refugees of all nationalities, including Syrians, who were” to schedule to arrive since the Trump’s order was signed, the email said.

“We are focusing on booking refugee travel through February 17. We are asking that arrivals resume this Monday, the first normal travel day of the week, if possible. We are aware that some refugees may not be ready to depart on short notice,” the email said.

A United Nations spokesman, Leonard Doyle, told the New York Times about 2,000 refugees were ready to travel.

Refugees do not usually enter on weekends, a U.S. official said, as the department hews to a strict set of rules on how their admissions are processed.

Other travelers from seven Muslim majority countries affected by President Donald Trump’s week-old curb on immigration can rework their flights after the judge’s order, as long as they have valid visas.

Refugees fleeing war, hunger and persecution have less autonomy. Advocates working on their behalf urged the government to move quickly on admitting them.

International Refugee Assistance Project Director Becca Heller called for “the instant resumption of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to immediately take the most vulnerable refugees out of harm’s way.”

During the week of the ban, the government admitted 843 refugees – but no Syrian refugees, government figures show. Officials previously told Reuters that they were “in transit” and had already been cleared for resettlement before the ban took effect.

For refugee families, they are trying to keep expectations in check and hope they do not end up back where they started.

Ayham Oubeid, a Syrian living in Cleveland, has been waiting for over a year for his brother George’s family to come to the United States as refugees. His brother, who has health issues, is living in Dubai on a work visa that covers him, his six-year-old daughter and five-months pregnant wife.

George left his job and moved the family out of their apartment when he was told they would be resettled in the United States on Feb. 13. But the family’s plane tickets were canceled when Trump announced the temporary ban. Without George’s job, the family could lose the work visa and be sent back to Syria in the midst of its deadly civil war.

Upon hearing of the judge’s ruling from Friday, Oubeid called George. He was careful not to be too hopeful, knowing the judge’s order could be overturned.

“I don’t want to get excited. I don’t want my brother to get excited. Because it was hard for him when he lost everything and was told he couldn’t come,” Oubeid said.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards and David Shepardson in Washington, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Mary Milliken, Dan Grebler and Diane Craft)

Jihadists mock Trump travel ban, vow more attacks

FILE PHOTO: An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture

By Omar Fahmy and Ali Abdelaty

CAIRO (Reuters) – Supporters of Islamic State mocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to deny entry to citizens of seven Muslim- majority countries, saying it would fail to stop attacks in the United States and help win new militant recruits instead.

“Your decision will do nothing. Attacks will come at you from inside America, from Americans born in America with American parents and grandparents,” one Islamic State supporter posted on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app.

In a move he said would help protect the United States from terrorists, Trump signed an order on Friday suspending the entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. Admission of all refugees was halted for four months, and for Syrians indefinitely.

The sweeping travel curbs took effect immediately, wreaking havoc for would-be travellers with passports from the seven countries and prompting an international outcry.

Islamic State, which has been fighting military assaults on several fronts in its heartlands of northern Syria and Iraq, has made no formal comment on Trump’s ban. But some sympathisers took to social media to pour scorn on immigration restrictions they said would serve Islamic State’s cause.

“Trump bans Muslims from entering America and kills them in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, then threatens them … the wretch does not know he presents an invaluable service to Islamic State,” a supporter calling himself Salem al-Mosuly wrote on Twitter.

An Islamist channel on the messaging app Telegram called “Scholars of Haq”, monitored by U.S. monitoring service SITE, asked whether Trump’s policies meant he was currently the best “caller to Islam” – someone who attracts new believers.

Of the first 48 users to respond, 34 answered that he was, according to SITE. SITE quoted one respondent, Abu Magrebi, as saying: “What Trump has done has clearly revealed the truth, and harsh reality behind the American government’s hatred towards Muslims.”

“What is Trump doing to his country? He just become president and already people (are) protesting against his policy, and worldwide countries criticising him. Trump will bring American down God willing,” Abu Magrebi wrote in another post monitored by SITE.

By Monday morning, the Scholars of Haq channel had been taken down, along with several other channels on which Islamist militants had posted responses on Sunday.

Other Islamic State supporters mocked an order issued by Trump on Sunday requiring his joint chiefs of staff give him a plan, in the next 30 days, to defeat the militant group.

“The Crusader Trump has made himself an unthinking Pharaoh. The despicable Crusader forgets the reckless utterances of Bush Junior and the mule Obama before him. They did not succeed and by the grace of God we will rub his nose in the mud as we did his predecessors,” wrote user Turjman Al Asawirti on Telegram.

(Additional reporting by Sami Aboudi in Dubai and Eric Knecht in Cairo; Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Peter Graff)