The U.S. government has granted waivers to 872 refugees to allow them entry into the nation this week, despite President Donald Trump's executive order on Friday banning entry of refugees from any country.
A Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the waivers to Reuters, noting that the refugees were considered "in transit" and had already been cleared for resettlement before the ban took effect.
The waivers were granted by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
On Tuesday, Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said that CBP agents granted waivers to 1,060 green card holders from the countries affected by Trump's order, allowing them to enter the country after additional screening. Meanwhile, more than 500,000 foreigners flew into the country in the 72 hours following Trump's order.
McAleenan said 75 waivers were granted to other visa holders, including translators who have worked with the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA Today reported.
McAleen said 721 travelers were stopped from boarding planes in foreign countries headed for the U.S., and some were stopped because airlines "over-interpreted" CBP orders.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said they will continue implementing Trump's order, but stressed that they are abiding by emergency rulings issued by federal judges over the weekend.
"We are all will continue to be in compliance with judicial orders," Kelly said, adding that the executive order "is not a ban on Muslims."