Ap­peals OKs part of travel ban

Ad­vo­cacy groups file new law­suit

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

SEAT­TLE, Nov 14, (AP): On the same day a fed­eral ap­peals court al­lowed part of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's travel ban to take ef­fect, ad­vo­cacy groups filed a new law­suit Mon­day chal­leng­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion's re­lated ef­forts to re­strict or ban cer­tain refugees from en­ter­ing the US

The de­vel­op­ments came as lawyers on both sides of the is­sue are pre­par­ing for yet an­other round of ap­peals court ar­gu­ments next month. They're the lat­est sign that af­ter nearly 10 months, the bat­tle over the pres­i­dent's travel re­stric­tions – and whether they rep­re­sent the "Mus­lim ban" he promised dur­ing his cam­paign or a le­git­i­mate ef­fort to im­prove na­tional se­cu­rity – is far from over.

"The pres­i­dent is mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort to im­ple­ment a cam­paign prom­ise that's un-Amer­i­can and un­con­sti­tu­tional," said Mark Het­field, pres­i­dent of the refugee sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tion HIAS. "The only way to stop him is through the courts."

Last month, a fed­eral judge in Hawaii blocked most of Trump's third travel ban just be­fore it was due to take ef­fect. A judge in Mary­land sep­a­rately blocked it to a lesser de­gree, say­ing that Trump could bar peo­ple from six mostly Mus­lim na­tions – Chad, Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Syria and Ye­men – as long as they did not have "bona fide" re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple or or­ga­ni­za­tions al­ready in the US

The travel ban also ap­plies to trav­el­ers from North Korea and to some Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and their fam­i­lies, but the law­suits did not chal­lenge those re­stric­tions.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment sought to put the Hawaii judge's rul­ing on hold pend­ing ar­gu­ments sched­uled for Dec. 6 at the 9th US Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Seat­tle. The three­judge panel due to hear those ar­gu­ments agreed in part on Mon­day, say­ing in ef­fect that the rul­ing from US District Judge Der­rick Wat­son in Honolulu went too far.

But the 9th Cir­cuit re­jected the gov­ern­ment's re­quest to let the lat­est travel ban take ef­fect as writ­ten pend­ing the out­come of the Hawaii case. In­stead, they adopted an ap­proach sim­i­lar to that of US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Mary­land – and to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in a case chal­leng­ing the sec­ond travel ban that those with bona fide con­nec­tions could en­ter the coun­try.

The Mary­land case is due to be ar­gued be­fore the 4th US Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals on Dec. 8.

Trump's sec­ond travel ban, like the first one, was a tem­po­rary mea­sure, and when it ex­pired, he re­placed it with the third – a ver­sion de­signed to be per­ma­nent.

"We are re­view­ing the court's order and the gov­ern­ment will be­gin en­forc­ing the travel procla­ma­tion con­sis­tent with the par­tial stay," US Depart­ment of Jus­tice spokes­woman Lau­ren Ehrsam said in a state­ment. "We be­lieve that the procla­ma­tion should be al­lowed to take ef­fect in its en­tirety."

As a com­pan­ion mea­sure to his travel ban, which ap­plies to those seek­ing to move to or visit the US, Trump last month also an­nounced a new pol­icy on ad­mit­ting refugees as his pre­vi­ous 120-day refugee ban ended. It im­poses tight new re­stric­tions on refugees from 11 coun­tries that have been deemed to war­rant ex­tra screen­ing and it in­def­i­nitely sus­pends a pro­gram that re­unites refugees in the US with their over­seas spouses and chil­dren.

Un­der the new pol­icy, for 90 days ap­pli­cants from those coun­tries will be considered "case-by-case," and only refugees whose ad­mis­sions are "deemed to be in the na­tional in­ter­est" might be ap­proved.

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