Jordan’s King Abdullah II is to begin a working visit to Washington on Monday, three days after US President Donald Trump temporarily banned entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspended the refugee resettlement program.
State media have said the king would meet with administration officials and members of Congress, but did not mention a White House visit.
Trump’s sweeping executive order, signed Friday, suspends the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days and prohibits issuing visas for travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for the next three months.
Pro-Western Jordan isn’t among the countries slapped with the 90-day travel ban, imposed over security concerns, but it views refugee resettlement to the US and other countries as a way of easing its own burden of hosting more than 650,000 displaced Syrians.
Trump’s order follows through on one of his most controversial campaign promises to subject travelers from Muslim-majority countries to “extreme vetting” — which he declared would make America safe from “radical Islamic terrorists.”
Refugee-rights groups and others immediately challenged the orders in court, and said the bans scapegoated Muslims and Arabs without making the United States safer.
Protests broke out at several US airports where travelers were being detained, and a big crowd of demonstrators gathered outside a Brooklyn courthouse where lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union were trying to get a judge to issue an order blocking detentions.
Trump’s sweeping travel ban also elicited harsh condemnations from the Muslim world.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that Trump’s move “will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters.
“Collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault-lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks,” he tweeted.
His ministry said earlier that it would reciprocate with a ban on Americans entering the country, though it will not apply to those who already have a valid visa.
BBC Persian reported that 9,000 Iranian asylum seekers were now blocked in Turkey.
Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, also criticized the ban, stating: “All attempts to classify Yemen and its citizens as a probable source for terrorism and extremism is illegal and illegitimate.”
Yemenis made up the largest contingent — 12,998 — of immigrants to the US last year from the seven countries.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Baghdad said on Facebook that dual nationals from the seven countries would be barred from entering the United States, excluding those with American passports.
As resistance to the temporary immigration restrictions mounted over the weekend, a US federal judge on Saturday ordered authorities to suspended the deportation of refugees and other travelers stuck at US airports.