Customs and Border Protection agents were “caught by surprise” by President Trump’s original travel ban against majority-Muslim nations and may have violated two separate court orders while implementing it, a government report released Friday concluded.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General report found that only two senior department officials saw a draft of the travel ban before Trump signed it during a ceremony at the Pentagon last Jan. 27. Most employees only heard about it from media reports in the days leading up to the signing.
That led to a rushed implementation by border agents processing incoming travelers at U.S. airports, and those who pre-screen travelers at foreign airports boarding U.S.-bound flights.
The report concluded that agents at U.S. airports did not violate any of the court orders that limited or halted the travel ban in the days that followed. But the report found that at least 30 people trying to board U.S.-bound flights were improperly prevented from boarding, possibly violating a series of judicial rulings that put the ban on hold.
Trump’s order instituted a 120-day ban on refugees entering the U.S. and a 90-day ban for most citizens of Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also indefinitely barred any Syrians from entering the U.S. His stated goal was to improve screening to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
The ban has been struck down by various federal courts, and the latest version is now being appealed to the Supreme Court.
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