US Green card flip-flop leaves many in limbo
Trump officials give different interpretations of visa ban
When US President Donald Trump signed the controversial executive order banning visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, it sent shock waves worldwide.
But it was Mr Trump and his Cabinet's handling of US green card holders from the affected countries that gave an insight on how polices may be effected in the future.
Green card holders are allowed to reside in the US as permanent residents.
Perhaps the best way to describe the situation is to use a football analogy - green card gets the red card.
The US authorities initially said the action also applied to people with green cards who were returning from the seven countries.
So, several people, some of whom had lived in the US for decades, were refused entry at the airports when they arrived.
Even here, the ripples were felt - Mr Randy Olsen, 39, an American sales operations director, was so worried for his wife, an Iraqi passport holder whom he had met here, that he posted his frustrations on Facebook.
He told The New Paper: "The two long years of working on the green card and finally getting it last month, it feels like all that work has been paused."
We cannot know for sure what is going to happen if we go back.Mr Randy Olsen, an American sales operation director who has been living here for six years. His wife, National University of Singapore research fellow Zaineb Al- Qazwini, holds an Iraqi passport
The yellow card was the protests and negative publicity by the media, and a White House official saying green card holders who had left the US and want to return would have to visit a US embassy or consulate to undergo additional screening, reported Reuters.
On Sunday (US time), White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus went on an NBC programme and said: "As far as green card holders moving forward, it does not affect them."
Mr Priebus added that these green card holders would be subjected to "more questioning" when they try to re-enter the US "until a better programme is put in place over the next several months".
At the same time, US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that people from the seven countries who hold green cards would not be blocked from returning from overseas, reported Reuters.
Dr Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, an assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told TNP Mr Trump's immigration policy evolving on the fly spoke volumes about how there is "confusion in his Cabinet".
Dr Nawab said: "This is just the beginning of the administration, and it is clear there is confusion in his Cabinet in terms of how they will move forward in the coming years.
"Mr Trump's policies are extreme, but we are likely to see clearer policies emerging only after several months, policies that are more suitable for the American system."
All this matters little to Mr Olsen, for he and his wife, National University of Singapore research fellow Zaineb Al-Qazwini, 33, are still planning to go back to the US next month with their two-year-old daughter.
Mr Olsen said: "At the eleventh hour, at the fifty-ninth minute on the way out, we cannot know for sure what is going to happen if we go back."
Mr Priebus' comments were not enough to quell Mr Olsen's worries - the disorganisation of the information has him concerned.
"It is one thing to say things from the top, but another to see those decisions actually being practised on the ground," said Mr Olsen.
"No one has told me anything concrete yet, and we just hope for a swift and peaceful resolution."