Trump blames Delta, liberal tears for logistical issues with immigration ban

President Donald Trump‘s executive order banning Syrian refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. faced significant logistical issues during its first weekend, with green card and visa holders detained in airports all over the country. However, Trump responded to critics on Monday by placing the blame on a Delta Air Lines computer outage, protesters, and Sen. Chuck Schumer‘s (D-NY) tears.

“Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage, protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer,” Trump tweeted shortly after 7am ET on Monday. “[Homeland Security] Secretary [Gen. John] Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems.”

Friday’s ban experienced immediate backlash from lawyers and civil rights groups, as well as protesters at airports where refugees and immigrants from those seven countries were being detained. 

At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, two U.S. visa holders were detained in the early morning, unable to speak to their lawyers, with 10 more people also later detained at JFK. Protests quickly broke out at the airport, and later that night, a federal judge blocked part of the order, allowing visa holders who were already on flights when the order was signed to not be deported, though the block didn’t require detainees to be let into the U.S.

Multiple outlets have reported significant oversights that contributed to the weekend’s collective confusion regarding the order.

Though Trump’s aides insist they had consulted for weeks with relevant officials, the head of the customs and border service in the Obama administration said Trump’s team never talked to him about it, according to the New York Times.

Before issuance, the White House did not pass the order through the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the office that interprets the law for the executive branch, nor fully briefed career officials in charge of enforcing the order, according to CNN.

Customs and Border Protection officers also said they weren’t fully informed on what to do at airports and border crossings, nor how to go about allowing individuals enter on a “case by case basis.”

“We were totally prepared,” Trump said at the time. “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely.”

In particular, the White House overruled a Department of Homeland Security recommendation to exclude green card holders—formally lawful permanent residents—from the order, and instead insisted that the department could let them into the U.S. on a case by case basis. This contradicted guidance sent to airlines (obtained by CNN) that stated, “lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA.” 

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly, whom Trump attributes in his Monday tweets to have said, “All is going well with very few problems,” issued a statement to allow green card holders to be excluded from the order, save for information implying that a lawful permanent resident in question is “a serious threat to public safety and welfare.”

At a rally overlooking the Statue of Liberty on Sunday, Sen. Schumer teared up while addressing the order, calling it “mean-spirited and un-American.”

“It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country, and it only serves to embolden and aspire those around the globe to do us harm,” Schumer said. He said Senate Democrats will move quickly to introduce legislation to reverse the order.

As far as the Delta computer outage, it did delay or cancel about 300 flights on Sunday, but this was after 6:30pm ET, post people being detained at airports nationwide. “The outage has no affect [sic] on the Executive Order,” a Delta Air Lines representative told the Daily Dot via Twitter.

After his tweet blaming Delta and Schumer, Trump went back to defending the immediacy of the travel ban, tweeting that more formal announcement of the ban would lead to “bad dudes” storming the border.

Update Jan. 30, 10:30am CT: Includes Delta’s comment. 

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.