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Trump tweets immigration executive order will stop ‘bad dudes’

(AP Photo)

In a series of tweets posted Monday morning, President Donald Trump said his executive order banning Muslims from coming to the country went into effect immediately to stop “a lot of bad dudes” in their tracks.

The ban affects travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.

Trump spent the weekend defending the policy amid backlash at home and around the world. He said only 109 out of hundreds of thousands had been detained.

At home, besides demonstrations at airports, including Phoenix Sky Harbor, several Republican senators spoke out against the order and Democratic senators were expected to introduce a bill to overturn the order.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the closed-mouth discussions that preceded Friday’s announcement, saying that “I think there are some people who might not like the way it was done, but they were all consulted in the process.”

Interviewed on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Spicer said officials put the safety of the American people first and said officials didn’t want to “telegraph” what they were going to do. He acknowledged “the secret way we had to roll this out” and said that it was because of “security reasons.”

Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina criticized the action. Flake called it “unacceptable” in an online post and McCain and Graham released a joint statement saying the move “Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”

European Union officials denounced the policy as a dangerous embrace of isolationism and inequality, while the international aid group Doctors Without Borders accused Trump of keeping people “trapped in war zones, directly endangering their lives.”

Two Iraqi lawmakers said their parliament had approved a “reciprocity measure” restricting the entry of Americans into Iraq.

Trump’s order doesn’t address homegrown extremists already here, which is a concern for federal law enforcement. Nor does the list of countries include Saudi Arabia, where most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from.

In a background call with reporters Sunday, a senior administration official declared the order’s implementation “a massive success story,” claiming it had been done “seamlessly and with extraordinary professionalism.”

Yet there appeared to be widespread confusion among authorities how it would be applied to certain groups, such as U.S. legal permanent residents.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued a statement Sunday saying that, absent information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, residency would be a “dispositive factor in our case-by-case determination.”

That means citizens of the seven countries who hold permanent U.S. residency green cards will not be barred from re-entering the U.S., as officials had previously said, but they will face some kind of additional screening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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