Pres­i­dent’s travel ban goes into ef­fect

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Local / Nation - By Jaweed Kaleem

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fi­nally saw his travel ban take ef­fect as U.S. em­bassies across the globe im­ple­mented new re­stric­tions Thurs­day to block trav­el­ers from six pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries as well as refugees from ev­ery­where.

White House of­fi­cials tried to as­sure U.S. res­i­dents that there would be none of the dis­rup­tions at in­ter­na­tional air­ports that oc­curred the first time the ad­min­is­tra­tion tried to en­act the ban in Jan­uary.

But im­mi­grant ad­vo­cates and civil rights groups said guide­lines is­sued by the govern­ment on who would be banned were vague and opened the pos­si­bil­ity of con­fu­sion and chaos as thou­sands of cus­toms of­fi­cials and em­bassy of­fi­cials tried to im­ple­ment the or­der.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly con­fus­ing,” said Mark Het­field, chief ex­ec­u­tive of HIAS, for­merly known as He­brew Im­mi­grant Aid So­ci­ety. “We’re just wait­ing to see what hap­pens.”

The ban, which took ef­fect at 8 p.m. EDT Thurs­day, puts a 90-day pause on travel to the U.S. by na­tion­als of Syria, Su­dan, So­ma­lia, Libya, Iran and Ye­men and blocks all refugee re­set­tle­ment for 120 days.

It had been blocked by var­i­ous courts un­til this week, when the Supreme Court ruled that it could be put in place with an ex­cep­tion for for­eign­ers with a “bona fide re­la­tion­ship” to Amer­i­can in­di­vid­u­als or en­ti­ties. The court of­fered lim­ited ex­am­ples, in­clud­ing stu­dents, “a worker who ac­cepted an of­fer of em­ploy­ment from an Amer­i­can com­pany or a lec­turer in­vited to ad­dress an Amer­i­can au­di­ence.”

In guide­lines is­sued Thurs­day, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in­ter­preted the rul­ing to al­low en­try of peo­ple with “close fam­ily” in the U.S., such as a par­ent, spouse, child, adult son or daugh­ter, son-in-law, daugh­ter-in-law, sib­ling or in­law par­ent. It said peo­ple with em­ploy­ment and univer­sity ad­mis­sion would also qual­ify.

But it blocked grand­par­ents, grand­chil­dren, aunts, un­cles, nieces, neph­ews, cousins, broth­ers- and sis­ters-in-law.

That set the stage for a le­gal show­down be­tween the govern­ment and the im­mi­grant rights groups over who qual­i­fies as close fam­ily.

Late Thurs­day, the state of Hawaii filed a mo­tion in Honolulu’s fed­eral dis­trict court ask­ing a judge who pre­vi­ously ruled against the travel ban to clar­ify whether the govern­ment’s list of un­qual­i­fied rel­a­tives vi­o­lates the Supreme Court’s or­der.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials said they based their in­ter­pre­ta­tion on the 1965 Im­mi­gra­tion and Na­tion­al­ity Act.

But Kevin Lapp, a pro­fes­sor at Loy­ola Law School in Los An­ge­les, said the clos­est that law comes to de­scrib­ing “close fam­ily” is a sec­tion that de­scribes “im­me­di­ate rel­a­tives” as chil­dren younger than 21, spouses and par­ents.

Those rel­a­tives get pref­er­ence for visas, and the govern­ment went be­yond that def­i­ni­tion with the travel ban rules, he said.

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