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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The controversial temporary immigration ban that President Trump initiated via executive order sparked public outcry over the weekend and now his administration is trying to explain the move — including how the seven affected countries were chosen.

Trump’s top advisers say that the countries highlighted in the ban were the same ones identified by the Obama administration as countries of concern, given their history of ties to terrorism.

But what the Trump administration did not mention was that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Obama administration did not ban citizens from those countries outright.

The Obama administration did raise the option of not granting visa waivers to anyone who had traveled to those countries since March 1, 2011, but it gave exceptions to some people, such as aid workers and journalists.

Trump said in a statement that they expect visa issuance to all those countries to resume at some point once vetting procedures have been strengthened. However, top Trump advisers have left the door open to adding more countries to the banned list.

Who Was Banned and Why

The fact sheet issued by DHS on Sunday states the U.S. will bar “nearly all travelers” from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 90 days.

DHS also clarified on Sunday that these countries were chosen because they “were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks in the Visa Waiver Program.”

In February 2016, during President Obama’s final year in office, the Department of Homeland Security added Libya, Somalia and Yemen as “countries of concern” to an existing list that included Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Syria. What that meant was that by being listed as such a country, it limited “Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries since March 1, 2011.”

The DHS statement clearly listed a number of groups that would generally be granted waivers and allowed in the U.S. without visas, and while the agency noted that the waivers would be given on a case-by-case basis, “as a general matter, categories of travelers who may be eligible for a waiver include individuals who traveled to these countries on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-national governments on official duty; on behalf of a humanitarian NGO on official duty; or as a journalist for reporting purposes.”

“Individuals impacted will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at our embassies or consulates,” the DHS statement added. “For those who need a U.S. visa for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States, U.S. embassies and consulates stand ready to provide visa interview appointments on an expedited basis. The new law does not ban travel to the United States, or admission into the United States, and the great majority of Visa Waiver Program travelers will not be affected.”

The flow of refugees from Iraq was drastically curtailed for six months in 2011, after the FBI discovered two Iraqi refugees connected to al Qaeda had made it into the U.S. and were plotting attacks from their new home in Kentucky. American officials told ABC News they carried out a top-to-bottom review of the vetting process to close loopholes back then.

The DHS fact sheet released on Sunday also noted that legal permanent residents — that is, green card holders — are exempt from the travel restrictions, as are people who hold dual citizenship. But the text of Trump’s executive order does not specify that.

However, the “countries of concern” list was not the only explanation the Trump administration has given for implementing a travel ban.

The original text of the executive order, released Friday, Jan. 27, notes the “crucial role” the visa-issuance process plays in “detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States.”

“Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans,” the executive order states.

The executive order states that the visa-issuance process was amended following the 9/11 terror attacks to prevent would-be terrorists from getting visas but still failed to stop attacks by foreign nationals admitted into the U.S.

None of the countries impacted by the Trump travel ban was home to any of the 19 hijackers from the 9/11 attacks — who were all from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt.

Trump Advisers Address Countries with Known Links to Terror Left Off the List

Trump’s top advisers have repeatedly pointed to the list of countries of concern created by the Obama administration as their justification for inclusion in Trump’s travel ban.

“President Trump is merely following President Obama’s lead on state sponsored terrorist countries where they have a history of training and exporting and harboring terrorists,” Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on ABC News’ Good Morning America Monday.

When White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked on Sunday on ABC News’ This Week why terror-prone countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were not included, he said that the administration is “looking at all of this holistically.”

“But I think the first step — because I think the Obama Administration put these first and foremost so that these countries need to have further travel restrictions based on the intelligence we have. What the president did was take the first step through this executive order of ensuring that we’re looking at the entire system,” he said.

Does Trump Have Ties to Some Countries Left Off the List?

Of the four countries of origin for the 9/11 hijackers, Trump does have current business interests in United Arab Emirates, but ABC News has not found any known active Trump business deals in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.

When asked about the absence of these countries from the ban and if that had anything to do with Trump’s business interests there, Conway did not specifically answer how his business ties did or did not impact country selection.

When ABC News was completing a project about Trump’s global business empire earlier this month, the Trump Organization did not provide a response to ABC News’ questions about possible business deals or developments in Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s financial disclosure forms listed two inactive companies that may have been related to prospective business interests in Egypt. In the days after the presidential election, the Trump Organization shut down a number of entities in Saudi Arabia that were set up in 2015 and that appeared to be related to prospective business ventures, ABC News learned during its reporting.

Trump’s financial disclosure forms list two inactive companies that may have been related to prospective business interests in Egypt. Trump Marks Egypt Corp. and Trump Marks Egypt LLC have the same incorporation date of Sept. 17, 2007, according to online records of the Delaware Department of State. Trump’s disclosure forms do not indicate any income or activity associated with these entities.

Trump does have confirmed business ties to the United Arab Emirates. He currently has licensing deals in place for two golf courses in Dubai, including one designed by Tiger Woods, that are being developed by the DAMAC group.

After Trump’s election, his partners in the deal told ABC News that the Trump brand had become “stronger, more global.” Hussain Sajwani, the chairman of DAMAC, who is preparing to open the clubhouse for the first of the two 18-hole Trump golf course developments early in 2017, said the project is “benefiting from that — the strength of that brand.”

Religious References

One of the more controversial statements that Trump made during the presidential campaign was his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” and while his position on the issue evolved during the months that followed, Trump expressed displeasure when people connected this ongoing immigration ban to religion.

All seven countries that are included in the ban are majority Muslim countries.

“There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order,” Trump said on Sunday. He blamed the media for “falsely reporting” the details of the executive order he signed on Friday.

On the same day that Trump signed the executive order, a clip from an interview he gave to the Christian Broadcasting Network was released wherein he said that he will give Christian refugees priority.

“They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So, we are going to help them,” Trump said in a clip of the interview that was released Friday.

Trump did not give any examples or cite evidence to support his claim that it is more difficult for Syrian Christians to gain refugee status than Syrian Muslims.

He reiterated his claim on Twitter on Sunday.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Consumer groups are slamming President Donald Trump’s new executive order on regulations, calling the move “arbitrary and irrational” and a threat to consumer safety.

The executive order, signed Monday, requires that for every new federal regulation put in place, two other regulations must be eliminated. It also requires the cost of all new regulations this year be zero. Trump hailed the move as a win for small businesses, which he said would be able to expand more quickly as a result.

But consumer groups are denouncing the order as a nonsensical simplification of regulations that help protect our food supply, medicines, environment and more.

Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel of the Consumer Federation of America, said the move “will have a devastating impact on necessary consumer protection.”

“Creating an arbitrary one-in-two-out rule utterly disregards the substance and purpose for existing regulatory protections and the benefits they can provide to consumers,” Weintraub said in a statement. “Our nation deserves a rigorous and deliberative rulemaking process, not one that is based on arbitrary gimmicks that refuse to acknowledge why these rules exist at all.”

The CFA is an association of more than 250 non-profit consumer groups.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, also voiced concern about the impact of the executive order on regulations that protect consumers.

“We believe it is the role of government to set reasonable rules for the marketplace that protect consumers from dangers like predatory lending, dirty air and water, foodborne diseases and unsafe medications,” said Laura MacCleery, vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports, in a statement. “This order is telling federal agencies to trade off one rule that improves health or safety for two other rules, and that does not make sense.”

MaCleery added that by requiring new regulations to not impose any financial costs on businesses, “agencies will have to put corporate costs before Americans’ well-being.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Trump briefly spoke in his meeting with pharmaceutical industry leaders on Tuesday, telling executives that drug prices need to come down and pledging to streamline the approval of new drugs.

“We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons — for Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get the prices way down,” the president said. “We are also going to be streamlining the process.”
The president said that pricing has been “astronomical,” and the key to lower drug prices is competition in the marketplace.

“Pricing has been astronomical but we need to do better. New drugs have led to longer, healthier lives but we have to do better, accelerating cures … we will get the approval process much faster,” he said.

“I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing a product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars big time, we have to, into the program,” Trump added.

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iStock/Thinkstock(QUEBEC CITY) — Alexandre Bissonnette, the suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque Sunday night that killed six people, has been charged with six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Bissonnette studied at Quebec City’s Université Laval, according to the university. The university in a statement condemned the attack and said it has offered full cooperation to police in the investigation.

Bissonnette has been suspended pending the judicial process, the university added.

Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, a former classmate of Bissonnette at Université Laval, told ABC News that the two discussed politics together, including the U.S. presidential election; he described Bissonnette as “a political conservative” who had anti-immigrant views.

“I had discussions with him on social media and in private,” Allard-Prus told ABC News. “Though he never talked about using political violence.”

A group that welcomes Syrian refugees to Quebec called “Welcome Refugees” wrote on Facebook that Bissonnette had trolled the group on social media with comments supporting the anti-immigration French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen.

The motive for the attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre was not clear, and police said the investigation was ongoing.

All of the victims from the Sunday night shooting were men between the ages of 39 and 60, police said. Their names were released by the coroner’s office: Abdelkrim Hassane, Aboubaker Thabti, Azzeddine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Khaled Belkacemi. Belkacemi was a professor at Université Laval, according to the university.

The Eiffel Tower went dark at midnight local time as a tribute to the victims.

Hospital officials said Tuesday morning that of the five injured in the shooting, one person has already been released from the hospital and two people are expected to be released Tuesday. Two victims remain in the hospital in critical condition.

The mosque shooting comes two days after President Donald Trump’s Friday travel ban affecting people from seven predominately Muslim countries, and one day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Saturday, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith.”

Trudeau called the mosque shooting a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”

“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear,” Trudeau said in a statement. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”

Trump called Trudeau Monday morning to express his condolences and offer assistance, according to Trudeau’s office.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday the U.S. condemns the attack, adding that it’s a reminder of why the U.S. remains vigilant and why the U.S. must be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to national security.

Addressing Canada’s parliament Monday, Trudeau said, “To the more than 1 million Canadians who profess the Muslim faith, I want to say directly: We are with you. Thirty-six million hearts are breaking with yours.”

“We will get to the bottom of this,” Trudeau added. “Canadians will not be intimidated. We will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always.”

Philippe Couillard, premier of Quebec, who also called the shooting terrorism, vowed to stand with Muslims in the community, adding that Quebec should not withdraw as a result of such violence and become a closed society because of the shooting, and should instead continue to welcome everyone.

Quebec police said Monday morning that all local mosques have increased security.

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U.S. Department of Defense(NEW YORK) — The seven countries impacted by President Donald Trump’s new travel ban are among at least 11 countries where a clandestine U.S. special operations task force is hunting ISIS operatives, who could hatch terrorist plots or make their way to the United States as they flee the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, counterterror officials tell ABC News.

The program known as “EXOPS” was devised by the Obama administration last fall, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter quietly announced that he had put America’s most covert black ops troops in charge of tracking ISIS fighters moving beyond the boundaries of established war zones in Southwest Asia.

Syria, Iraq and five other countries affected by the Trump executive order last Friday are also the responsibility of EXOPS forces under the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), as well as at least four more countries not subject to his order regarding harsher immigration restrictions for foreign travelers — Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, officials said.

Trump’s White House has compared his executive order to the Obama administration halting Iraqi refugee admissions almost entirely in 2011 because two al-Qaeda insurgents from Baiji, Iraq were found to be living in Kentucky and giving their support to a weapons smuggling plot in an FBI sting, as ABC News exclusively reported in 2013.

As he did during his successful presidential campaign, the president singled out Syrians and said granting their further entry to the U.S. as refugees would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

What the Trump White House hasn’t disclosed publicly, likely for reasons of operational security, is that “a small number of refugees settled here are under FBI investigation for ties to IED [improvised explosive device] networks overseas,” a senior counterterrorism official told ABC News this week.

Trump also has yet to discuss publicly continuing the secret JSOC program focused on the same countries identified in his immigration executive order — which began as a program under Obama aimed at preventing ISIS operatives from becoming threats outside of the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts.

“The idea is to figure out where they’re going, why they’re going there, all of their logistics, tie them together and figure out how to empower allies to act on it,” a counterterrorism official familiar with the planning for EXOPS told ABC News recently.

Besides “squirters” leaving the caliphate — military slang for enemies who flee a large U.S. counterterrorism operation — the new task force under JSOC commander Army Lt. Gen. Austin “Scotty” Miller is tracking terrorism money trails around the Middle east, Asia and Europe, officials said.

“The big takeaway is to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing in order to mitigate it in the future,” the counterterrorism official added.

The Obama administration established the 11 countries as U.S. military-led counterterrorism priorities months before Trump won the 2016 election last November and was sworn in Jan. 20, officials said. The prioritization was based on intelligence on where ISIS operatives have been known to relocate to and where major clusters of fighters are gathering, such as in Libya — where Obama in his last hours as president approved a massive B-2 stealth bomber airstrike on 100 jihadis the Pentagon said were plotting attacks on Europe.

Trump last week made it harder for refugees and travelers to lawfully enter the U.S. from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

A senior administration official declined to comment to ABC News about the 11 countries the special operations task force is focused on or its military priorities in combatting ISIS.

Back in October on a trip to Paris, former Secretary Carter hinted at the new task force, but not to its size, scope or authorities, in little-noticed remarks.

“We have put our Joint Special Operations Command in the lead of countering ISIL’s external operations. And we have already achieved very significant results both in reducing the flow of foreign fighters and removing ISIL leaders from the battlefield,” Carter said.

Some in counterterrorism operations view the controversy over Trump’s move to temporarily halt immigration from seven countries — which are either war-torn countries or a state-sponsor of terrorism such as Iran — as ironic since it focuses on some of the very countries that Obama had focused counterterrorism operations in for months until he left office.

Though outside of the authority of the EXOPS task force, last weekend’s raid in Yemen by the Navy’s counterterrorism unit SEAL Team SIX to seize al-Qaeda documents on plots against the West also was an operation planned for months by the Obama administration but launched with Trump’s approval once moonlight was minimal and other conditions favorable to American commandos. Several SEALs were critically injured and one operator, William “Ryan” Owens, was killed in action.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Friends and colleagues are rallying behind a New York doctor who was left stranded in Sudan because of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Dr. Kamal Fadlalla, a resident at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn was supposed to return to the U.S. from his native country of Sudan on Sunday, his friend and colleague, Dr. Menzin Khalid, told ABC News affiliate WABC on Monday.

“He went home to visit his family. It had been a year and a half since he had seen his mom and his sister, so he thought now is a good time to go visit them,” Khalid said.

Unfortunately, Fadlalla planned to return on the same weekend that the president announced an executive order that temporarily forbids entry into the U.S. for people from Sudan and six other predominately Muslim countries: Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Lybia, Iraq, and Iran.

Trump’s order also places indefinite restrictions on Syrian refugees.

Khalid said Fadlalla called him on Sunday and said, “‘I got my boarding pass to New York, and then I was informed by the airline company that my name has been called and I am not allowed to go.”

Dr. Fadlalla is one of many who suddenly found themselves stranded in other countries over the weekend.

As of Sunday evening, 348 individuals with plans to travel to the U.S. were recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be denied boarding at foreign airports under the order.

In a post on its Facebook page, the Committee of Interns and Residents Interfaith Medical Center said it was rallying in support of Fadlalla. The organization also posted pictures of themselves holding colorful signs that read statements like “No Immigrant Deserves Discrimination” and “Immigrants Keep Hospitals Running.”

CIR is a union that represents more than 14,000 interns, residents and fellows, according to its website.

“Other members are now unable to leave the U.S. to visit family in their home countries,” the group said, adding: “These laws are inhumane and unacceptable and cannot continue.”

Khalid, Fadlalla’s friend, echoed the union’s sentiments.

“I have the same thing, we are all pursuing a dream, we are all doing the best we can to improve ourselves and to do our best by our patients.”

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Courtesy of The McCourt Family(NEW YORK) — Charlotte McCourt, 11, has sold more than 15,300 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and counting thanks to a frank letter she wrote rating each cookie and describing their respective flaws.

“The Toffee-tastic is a bleak, flavorless, gluten free wasteland,” Charlotte, a sixth-grader from New Jersey, wrote in the letter addressed to a family friend. “I’m telling you, it’s as flavorless as dirt.”

Charlotte penned the letter to a family friend in Colorado after she became concerned that only two of the 92 boxes of Girl Scout cookies she had sold so far were designated to be donated to U.S. military troops. In hopes of boosting that number to help U.S. troops, Charlotte used her dad’s laptop to send the letter to his friend.

“Sean said to her, ‘I have a wealthy friend in Colorado and I texted him and he said he’d donate to the troops but why don’t you write him a letter,'” Charlotte’s mom, Beth McCourt, told ABC News of her husband, Sean McCourt. “Sean gave her his laptop and she took it in her bedroom and wrote and emailed the letter to him.”

Charlotte said she didn’t think ahead of what she was going to write.

“I played it by ear and I just kept typing until I thought the letter was good,” she said. “At sales usually I’ll say, ‘This one is my favorite, this one I don’t like as much,’ but I’ve never described them like this before.”

Charlotte rated each of the Girl Scout’s famous cookies on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. The perennial favorite Thin Mint earned a “9” for its “inspired” combination of chocolate and mint.

The Do-si-dos peanut butter sandwich cookie earned a “5” for “its unoriginality and its blandness,” while the Savannah Smiles earned a “7” for its “divine taste.”

“If you have a wild sense of adventure, try the S’mores,” Charlotte wrote of this year’s two new s’mores-inspired cookies. “Full disclosure, I have not tried the S’mores so I cannot rate it in good conscience.”

Charlotte’s letter gained a global audience when Mike Rowe read it aloud in a video posted to his Facebook page. Charlotte’s dad, Sean McCourt, is a producer and writer on Rowe’s podcast, “The Way I Heard It.”

Rowe, the former star of “Dirty Jobs,” told ABC News he appreciated Charlotte’s honesty.

“In an age of fake news and dubious claims, leave it to a Girl Scout to show us the real value of truth in advertising,” Rowe said in a statement. “The simple truth that not all cookies are created equal. The undeniable fact, that some are ‘divine’ and others taste like ‘dirt.’”

Beth McCourt, answered “1,000 percent” when asked if the letter is representative of her daughter’s personality.

“That is who Charlotte is,” McCourt said, describing her daughter as “pure” and full of “honesty and humor.”

The family friend to whom Charlotte wrote the letter purchased 25 boxes of Girl Scout cookies for U.S. troops, according to the McCourt family.

The number of cookie boxes people have donated to U.S. troops through Charlotte’s cookie ordering website has now jumped to 7,253 and counting, according to Charlotte’s local Girl Scouts council.

“It’s honest, nice and it just makes people happy,” Charlotte said of her letter’s appeal. “I think that that’s good to have in a world of war and hate and poverty.”

Charlotte’s local Girl Scout council also applauded the girl’s “entrepreneurial skills” in this year’s cookie sales, which end in April.

“Our Girl Scout Cookie Program helps Girl Scouts develop important life skills—goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—that will set them up for success,” the council said in a statement. “We are thrilled for Charlotte and we are proud that she exercised her entrepreneurial skills and is learning about taking the lead like a Girl Scout.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — When Dr. Muhamad Moustafa got wind of a possible executive order on immigration, he said he called his wife and told her to change her flight and come back to Virginia as soon as possible. The two of them are Syrian nationals, living in the U.S. on J-1 and J-2 visas as he finishes a medical residency program in Washington, D.C.

His wife, Nabila Moustafa, traveled to Qatar a few weeks ago to visit her mother, who the couple says recently finished breast cancer treatment.

Nabila Moustafa changed her flight and flew back to the U.S. as soon as she could, but it was too late: The details of the new executive order came out in the news while she was still in the air.

She landed at Dulles International Airport around 8:00 a.m. Saturday. She was one of the first travelers to arrive at the airport that morning with a passport from one of the seven countries listed on President Donald Trump’s new order and she said she was met with confused border agents still trying to make sense of the action.

The agents pulled her aside in the customs line, Nabila Moustafa told ABC News in a written exchange about her ordeal. They told her visa was no longer valid. J-1 visas are issued for people in exchange program, normally advanced education programs, such as in Muhamad Moustafa’s case. He came to the U.S. in 2013 to finish medical school and training. J-2 visas are issued for spouses or dependents of a J-1 visa holder.

“He replied saying, ‘You are not American and you cannot say ‘my visa,’ because this visa belongs to the United States, not to you,” she wrote to ABC News about the agents.

“Seriously? Talking about semantics and syntax?! That was all I could think about,” she continued.

Nabila Moustafa said she argued with them, trying to get them to allow her to see her husband or a lawyer. She said she was not granted either and was even denied a translator.

Dulles did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the interaction that Nabila Moustafa described.

“I was filled with dread and fear, not knowing what is going to happen to me, nor knowing what to do or think about any of this. I was at loss and seconds away from breaking down, and I desperately needed just one person to make sense of all this,” she said.

“I wanted to see my husband so badly and I asked them to just give me that simple thing, but they outright refused. I had been keeping myself together throughout the whole procedure, but I could not do that any longer. The tears I was holding came rushing.”

Nabila Moustafa said she was deported within two hours of landing, put on a flight back to Doha, Qatar. She said she was beside herself and had to be treated with a ventilator before takeoff.

“She was crying, she was, like, short of breath … I was so depressed, so anxious, I didn’t know what to do,” Muhamad Moustafa told ABC News. He was at the airport waiting to pick his wife up when he learned that she would be deported.

“It’s really scary, because, like, I can’t leave [the U.S.],” he continued. “If I leave, I won’t be able to come back and I have training here. This is my future. I tried to build my future.”

He added: “I have no place to go right now. The only place I can go to is Syria, and it’s terrible there now.”

During an interview Monday with MSNBC, White House adviser Stephen Miller defended the rollout of the executive order, saying that criticisms have been mostly “false and in some cases … hysterical.”

Rob Robertson, an immigration attorney in Washington, D.C., who is representing a friend of Muhamad Moustafa’s in a similar situation, said he fears Nabila Moustafa’s options are limited. It will likely be hard for her to board a plane back to the U.S. in the next 90 days, the specific time frame of the executive order.

Robertson’s client, Dr. Said Hajouli, is a student in the same residency program as Muhamad Moustafa. The two practice internal medicine. His wife, who also has a current J-2 visa, was in in Turkey visiting her family when rumors of the order first surfaced. She, too, boarded a plane back to the U.S. quickly.

But her story ended differently. Hajouli’s wife landed at Dulles eleven hours after Nabila Moustafa at 7 p.m. Saturday night. She was detained that evening but eventually released to her husband. (Hajouli asked that ABC News not publish his wife’s name.)

By the time Hajouli’s wife landed, there were protesters at Dulles and other airports across the country, and federal judges had sprung into action, issuing last-minute rulings blocking parts of Trump’s order.

Robertson advised her to formally seek asylum. It was a risky move, but it worked … for now.

Normally, asylum-seekers are sent to detention centers, and Hajouli feared for hours that that may be the case for his wife. He said he did not make the decision to go that route lightly.

“Whether she goes back to Turkey and she will be an emotionally destroyed person, or she applies for asylum and then she goes to jail, and she will come out an emotionally destroyed person,” he said in an interview before his wife’s plane landed.

Robertson said her outcome was likely due to a mix of factors: her visa status, the media attention and political pressure.

“It’s amazing how fast immigration [officials] will respond with reason when the media watching,” he said. “Press coverage really does help.”

Hajouli’s wife will now likely be interviewed by an asylum officer in the coming weeks, Robertson said. The officer will determine if she has a valid claim before her case is referred to an immigration judge.

Meanwhile, Muhamad and Nabila Moustafa are still processing the turn of events over the weekend and trying to decide how to move forward.

“In a short hour and 55 minutes, I was faced with a nightmare, humiliated, yelled at for no reason, and was taken away from the life I built with my husband in the place I had come to view as my home,” Nabila Moustafa told ABC News from Doha. “In a short hour and 55 minutes, I was forced to leave the country with nothing but a broken heart and a lump of fear and loneliness in my chest, and panic on the outskirts of my mind.”

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RFStock via Getty Images(LONDON) — The changing of the guard, a time-honored tradition since the 17th century, has been scaled back at Windsor Castle.

The changing of the guard, a highlight for visitors to London, typically includes a regimental band as the guards march in a path from Victoria barracks and into the castle. The tradition, which as recently as this summer could be seen every other day, is now on a set schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Security measures have been increased in relation to the changing the guard in Windsor,” a Thames Valley Police spokesperson told ABC News. “These measures have been put in place as part of a review in order to reassure and increase the safety of the public and military while the events take place.”

The current threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. is “severe,” meaning an attack is “highly likely,” according to the British government and M15 intelligence agency. The threat level remains unchanged since European cities were targeted earlier this year.

Military authorities and U.K. police have been reassessing security around the capital in the wake of two major terrorist attacks: the Berlin Christmas market attack that killed 12 and injured 50 people last December and the deadly truck attack in Nice, France, that killed 86 and injured more than 400 people during Bastille Day festivities last July. Armed police checkpoints and road closures have been implemented near the changing of the guard site in Windsor in addition to other security measures.

“The number of officers at the events has been increased along with reinforced road closures,” Thames Valley Police said in a statement. “The increased presence in police officers follows the review of our support to the Guard Change and is not directly linked to any increase in threat.”

The new regulations are similar to changes at the Buckingham Palace Guard ceremony which went into effect after the Berlin attacks. Windsor shopkeepers, who derive much of their income from tourism related to the guard ceremony, are reportedly divided over the measure.

Police are said to be implementing the change for a period of three months and then will review activities during the summer period, when guard changes take place more frequently.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Navy SEAL killed in the raid on senior al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders in Yemen on Sunday has been identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens.

According to a Pentagon statement, Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died “of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaeda.”

“I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens,” said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a statement.

“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” said Mattis.

“The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors,” he added. “I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan’s family in this most difficult time.”

The Pentagon statement did not specify what unit Owens served with other than saying he was “assigned to an East Coast-based Special Warfare unit.” His Navy records indicated that he joined the Navy in 1998 and had been serving with the Navy Special Warfare units since 2002.

Officials have told ABC News that the raid on the al-Qaeda compound in southern Yemen was carried out by SEAL Team Six, the elite Naval special operations unit involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Six other U.S. servicemembers were injured in the raid. Three of them were injured in the firefight with the AQAP fighters, while three others were injured when the Marine MV-22 Osprey aircraft they were aboard was damaged in a “hard landing.”

The raid targeting three senior leaders with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was intended to gather intelligence on the terror group that could be used to prevent future terror plots.

Fourteen al-Qaida fighters were killed in the raid on the compound, including some women who had fired at the American forces.

“We saw that female fighters ran to pre-established positions, as though they had trained to be ready, and trained to be combatants and engaged with us,” said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. Davis characterized the female fighters as legitimate combatants.

The Pentagon is still assessing reports that children may have been killed in the raid, but a U.S. official said there were no internal indications that was the case.

Authorized by President Donald Trump, Davis said the raid had been planned for months and that former President Barack Obama had been aware of the planning.

“There were operational reasons why it happened when it did and not two weeks ago,” Davis emphasized.

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