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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 31, 2017 12:37am-1:08am PST

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♪ pain pain ♪ every time it feels like this could be the last time ♪ this is a special edition of "nightline." "inside 30: the tramp ban." tonight, breaking news. president trump and those familiar words, you're fired. as he turns on the acting attorney general for not enforcing his controversial travel ban. chaos at airports and the protests in the streets. >> refugees are welcome here! >> as foreign nationals of seven countries are blocked from entering the u.s. >> he crushed their dreams. >> one father separated from his 3-year-old daughter. >> what will the 3-year-old child, what threat she would pose? >> supporters say the new president is doing what they elected him to do. >> first and foremost is to keep our country safe. >> plus what the new travel ban means for families like these. david muir with syrian refugees resettling in america.
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inside the vetting process in amman, jordan, in place before president trump took office. >> how can you possibly learn everything about a family through an interview? >> and the journey to resettle in the united states. this special edition of "nightline," "inside 30:the travel ban" will be right back.
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this is a special edition of
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"nightline." "inside 30: the travel ban." >> good evening. thank you for joining us. breaking news. just hours ago, president trump firing the acting attorney general for refusing to enforce his controversial travel ban. the showdown following trump's surprise executive order hitting the pause button on refugees entering the u.s. the action igniting instant chaos and confusion at airports and on capitol hill. tonight abc's gloria riviera is with some of the people, the families caught in the cross fire. >> reporter: it's your typical little girl's room. the stuffed penguin, pink barbie sheets. the little girl who sleeps here is stuck thousands of miles away. a new presidential order stranding refugees. and tonight the president firing the acting attorney general of the united states, sally yates, who threw down the gauntlet, directing top lawyers at department of justice to defy trump's travel ban. the white house press office says in a statement monday that
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yates has betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the united states. tensions running high here in america and a world away where, like so many others, a little girl is left only to dream of america. >> we don't believe that we cannot get her. we have to get her. >> reporter: abdullah fled syria after speaking out against the assad regime. he was vetted and cleared for u.s. entry in 2011. his family joining him in 2013. on an october trip to see family in lebanon, his 3-year-old daughter muna was denies entry back to the u.s. a visa snafu, he says. >> this is heartbreaking. we cannot believe this happens. what will the 3-year-old child, what threat she will pose? these are the last two videos. >> reporter: she's been with her grandmother for three months. but on sunday he says he was
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told she is now ineligible. >> this policy in regard with my family, it's breaking my family, it's breaking our hearts. >> reporter: this week alone over 800 refugees were on their way to america. the u.n.'s refugee agency estimates. an executive order from president trump in an instant changed everything. >> you know what it's like to be waiting for that visa to come. >> yes. >> to get that stamp to be able to come to this country. for all those people who are waiting with hope, what has this executive order done? >> crushed their dreams. >> reporter: the executive order calls for a 90-day ban on nearly all travelers from seven predominantly muslim countries. libya, sudan, syria, iraq, iran, yemen, somalia. the order puts a 120-day stop on all refugees and bans syrian refugees from entering the u.s. indefinitely. suddenly entire lives were held in lembo. 109 people were on their way to america and denied entry,
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according to the white house. instant chaos and confusion erupted at airports. a number of travelers to the u.s., including children, detained upon landing. tears of joy when this mother in virginia reunited with her 5-year-old son. >> i don't know what to do. because i sold my house. i quit my job. my wife quit her job. and kids left school. >> reporter: abdullah was vetted. he's been in this country six years, working on a perfectly legal religious workers visa. he says he loves this country and doesn't think the policy will abate terror. >> this type of decision, it will only promote hate and fear. and it will not solve the problem of extremism. just the other day, that canadian white man, he entered the mosque in quebec and killed eight people while they were praying. so we will not -- we don't say we have white men are terrorists, that's just foolish,
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that is very unjust and very unfair. so this decision is very discriminatory, very discriminatory, very unjust, very inhuman. >> reporter: he got up sunday morning and joined others determined to have their voices heard. from the shadow of the statue of liberty -- to the gates of the white house -- this weekend some major protests over president trump's executive orders signed late friday. >> big stuff. >> reporter: around the globe, just like the weekend before, other countries joined in. tonight a reported 10,000 took to the streets in the uk. >> down with trump! >> reporter: political debate reaching into corners all over the world. including hollywood at last night's s.a.g. awards. >> i am the daughter of an immigrant. i love this country. because i love this country, i am horrified by its blemishes. >> reporter: in a rare move just days into a new presidency, the former president speaking up.
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president obama came out of the post-presidency shadows today with some pretty harsh words for president trump, saying that he through a spokesman fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion. >> reporter: the chorus of voices in support of the ban also strong. >> take care of our own first. then take care of others. it's just like jumping -- when the plane goes into a crash mode, first you have to put on your mask to help your child. >> i think we need first and foremost is to keep our country safe. >> reporter: hours after issuing the executive order, the white house began to walk back part of that sweeping edict, now saying green card holders, permanent legal residents, will be allowed to re-enter the country. today press secretary sean spicer defending the policy. >> i'm sorry some folks may have had to wait a little while. but i think the president would much rather know that he's not placing a call to someone who was killed because someone was let into this country to commit
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a terrorist act. >> reporter: the order grants some exceptions, giving priority to refugees from religious minorities like christians living in majority muslim countries. ramin, clinical law professor and attorney, says she believes the mandate is unethical and unlawful. >> we've seen post-9/11 in the name of security our country has allowed itself to erode many of its values. if the u.s. is now going to prioritize, take refugees that are christian over refugees that are muslim, that in and itself is discriminating based on religion. >> reporter: the president claimed the ban had nothing to do with religion. >> it's not a muslim ban, we're totally prepared to work it out very nicely. >> reporter: the executive order unclearing a crush of bipartisan criticism. >> today we all stand here as american citizens! >> reporter: democratic lawmakers protesting at the supreme court to republican senators, john mccain and landsy graham, writing in a joint
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statement, it is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that president trump's executive order was not properly vetted. ultimately we fear this executive order will be become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism." president trump firing back on twitter, john mccain and lindsey graham should focus their energies on isis, illegal immigration, and border security, instead of always looking to start world war iii. >> after it was signed there was a lot of confusion at airports around the country. we had young children who were detained. we had the elderly. it was a very serious situation. >> shame on you, shame on you! >> reporter: the president later adding, if the ban was announced with a one-week notice the bad would rush into our country during that week, a lot of bad dudes out there. caught in the crossfire of this debate, people like sufyan, former translator for the army in iraq. >> were there dangerous assignments? >> yes, always, every day. >> safe to say you put your life at risk? >> yes. yes. >> reporter: he got out of iraq
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using a special immigration visa which allowed him to get a green card. but for now those like him who risk their lives to help american forces or companies would not be allowed in. >> how did you feel about america then? >> hm, that -- it's a dream. for everybody. >> reporter: now he lives in durham with his wife and three children. his young els daughter an american born here in the usa. for president trump, he has one solemn plea. >> don't judge. maybe 95% of people, the good people, the same as 5% of bad people. >> reporter: for abdullah his foremost concern is for the safety of his little girl, still stranded tonight half a world away. >> for me personally, i want my daughter back. >> reporter: for "nightline," gloria riviera in raleigh, north carolina. david muir is vetting the vetting process in amman, jordan. president trump has vowed to make it more extreme. but does it need to be?
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president trump has long vowed to institute a process of what he calls extreme vetting for refugees from predominantly muslim countries. as "world news tonight" anchor david muir found out that vetting process can already be very rigorous. they followed families from their home in jordan to communities across america to learn about their experience firsthand. >> let them go! >> reporter: there is anger and confusion around the country in the wake of president trump's controversial travel ban.
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>> donald trump has got to go! >> reporter: with the stroke of a pen on friday, the president's executive order suspended the decades-old refugee resettlement program for 120 days. and indefinitely banned all syrian refugees. >> this is a muslim ban? >> no, it's not a muslim ban. it's countries that have tremendous terror. >> reporter: the president promising this. >> we're going to have extreme vetting in all cases. i mean extreme. and we're not letting people in if we think there's even a little cans of some problem. >> reporter: the president's critics argue the vetting already in place was more than sufficient. >> what do we want? justice! ♪ >> reporter: in 2016, more than 12,000 syrian refugees were admitted to the u.s. before the election we krafled to amman, jordan, to see what the vetting entailed. in jordan across the syrian border there are over 600,000 syrian refugees. despite the backlash in the u.s., so many of them are
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desperate for the chance to go to america. through this doorway, we immediately discover a crush of humanity. refugee families already screened by the u.n. now waiting to be interviewed by the u.s. how many interviews? >> four interviews. actually, five. >> five interviews. so they come through here? >> yes. >> reporter: gina is with the u.s. state department. >> they're brought into a security screening area. >> reporter: for a vetting process that can last two years. we are taken to a hallway lined with small rooms and through the windows, we can see family after family being interviewed. how can you possibly learn everything about a family through an interview? >> i'd say the interviewers are very highly trained. they are trained to look at the documentation, but also for the credibility behind the applicant's story. >> when you say documentation, this is syria. they've been at war for years now. what kind of documentation do
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they have, teif any? >> 90% of adult applicants in our pipeline have valid syrian documentation. >> reporter: from here they are screened through the terrorist watch list, the intelligence data bases back in the u.s., and homeland security makes the final decision. are there times when it will flag you a particular family, and they get pulled? >> absolutely. the applicants at airport, we had to prevent them from boarding the plane. >> reporter: the u.s. state department told us of the over 800,000 refugees admitted to the u.s. since 9/11, a "tiny fraction of 1% have been arrested or removed because of terrorism or concerns." critics say that's still too many. they point to the case of iraqi refugees in bowling green, kentucky, who the fbi caught in 2011 attempting to buy an anti-aircraft missile they thought would be used against american forces in iraq. they were known insurgents who had fought against u.s. soldiers. but still slipped through the cracks. after that incident, president obama drastically curtailing the
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number of iraqi refugees coming into this country for six months. the vetting procedures overhauled. those enhanced measures were firmly in place last year when we met these families who had just been cleared for america. this is cultural orientation. where they're caught about their new home. the teacher asks them, what's allowed in the u.s., what's forbidden? she shows a picture of a couple kissing in public. she asks them about drinking in america. then she asks about polygamy. asking if it's legal in america. they begin to clap. the next lesson about america, the melting pot. they're asked a simple question. which of these faces are american?
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these families leaving within days. how many of you are excited to go to the united states? give me one word that describes america to you. >> the land of chances. >> for americans who are worried about refugees coming to the u.s.? >> they're humans like you. we want to be one of you. >> reporter: we wondered if they had any questions for us. >> we'll take that question back to the united states. >> reporter: all the families in this room have already been admitted to the united states. but there are thousands of others now stuck in limbo. just last week, i asked president trump about the critics who say his ban will
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only inflame tensions both here in this country and overseas. are you at all concerned it's going to cause more anger among muslims around the world? >> anger? there's plenty of anger right now, how can you have more? >> you don't think it will exacerbate the problem this. >> look, david. i know you're a sophisticated guy. the world is a mess. the world is as angry as it gets. >> reporter: it was during our trip we found another family in amman who had been waiting nearly two years for an answer. their home bombed in syria. they show me their homemade swing in the hallway. the children miss their playground back home. this is your playground? >> yes. >> reporter: the u.s. state department then tells them they're next. >> on september 6th, you will travel to kansas city, missouri. >> reporter: we watch as it sets in. then a question from their father mustafa. we show them on a map. kansas city is a beautiful city. it's a beautiful city.
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and the baseball team, they won the world series. >> reporter: a smile from the son who loves sports. but we notice tears from one of the children. her mother tells us she is sad to leave her friends yet again. since our trip, we have followed their story. they arrived here in the u.s. in september to a warm welcome from their new community. and since then, mustafa has landed a full-time job at a local auto parts factory. the kids are thriving in school. but he knows he may not be able to share this promise of a better life with relatives who have yet to arrive. an uncertainty now shared by thousands of refugees who had pinned their hopes on a new beginning in the united states. for "nightline," i'm david muir in new york. >> our thanks to david. we'll be right back with more "nightline."
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finally tonight, president
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trump is expected to name his supreme court nominee tuesday. tune in tomorrow for updates in that developing situation. thank you for watching abc news. and as always, we're online at abc and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america. good night.
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