Ap­peals court al­lows par­tial en­force­ment of Trump travel ban

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By JEN­NIFER SINCO KELLE­HER and GENE JOHN­SON The As­so­ci­ated Press

SEAT­TLE — 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 United States.

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 Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity 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 U.S.

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 U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Seat­tle. The three-judge panel due to hear those ar­gu­ments agreed in part Mon­day, say­ing in ef­fect that the rul­ing from U.S. 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, the court adopted an ap­proach sim­i­lar to that of U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Mary­land — and to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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,” U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice spokes­woman Lau­ren Ehrsam said. “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 U.S., 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 U.S. 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. The 11 coun­tries are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, the Repub­lic of South Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men. The or­der also ap­plies to cer­tain state­less Pales­tinian males.

More than half of refugees in the pipe­line to be ad­mit­ted into the U.S. come from those coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the State Depart­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­suit filed by the refugee as­sis­tance groups in Seat­tle on Mon­day, more than 80 per­cent of the refugees re­set­tled from those 11 coun­tries over the last two fis­cal years have been Mus­lim. Thus, halt­ing their ad­mis­sion will dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect Mus­lim refugees, the law­suit said.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has said that dur­ing the 90-day pe­riod, it would shift re­sources away from deal­ing with refugees from the 11 coun­tries need­ing ad­di­tional scru­tiny. The ef­fect of that, the law­suit said, will be much longer bans on those refugees: Many are likely to have med­i­cal screen­ings or other re­quire­ments ex­pire, forc­ing them to start over.

“This pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of ap­pli­ca­tions from (other) coun­tries will have the ef­fect of sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing the per­cent­age of Chris­tian refugees re­set­tled here while sig­nif­i­cantly de­creas­ing the per­cent­age of Mus­lim refugees,” the law­suit said. “The Mem­o­ran­dum thus im­ple­ments the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s oft-re­peated de­sire to ban Mus­lim refugees while pri­or­i­tiz­ing the re­set­tle­ment of Chris­tian refugees.”

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity has said it does not com­ment on lit­i­ga­tion, but the Oct. 23 memo lay­ing out the new pol­icy said it was nec­es­sary for na­tional se­cu­rity.

Among the plain­tiffs in the Seat­tle case are the Jewish Fam­ily Ser­vice of Seat­tle, refugees who are near the fi­nal stages of re­set­tling and Allen R. Vaught — an Iraq war vet­eran from Dal­las who said that the travel ban has “de­railed ef­forts to get my last sur­viv­ing Iraqi trans­la­tor, who served bravely along­side U.S. mil­i­tary forces for many years, to the United States.

“That ex­ec­u­tive or­der is in­con­sis­tent with the Amer­i­can val­ues I fought for as an of­fi­cer in the United States Army,” Vaught said.

The refugee ban is also be­ing chal­lenged in other cases, in­clud­ing one filed last week in Seat­tle by a So­mali refugee ask­ing a fed­eral judge to let his wife and young chil­dren join him in the U.S.

AP file photo

Hawaii At­tor­ney Gen­eral Doug Chin talks to re­porters out­side a fed­eral court­house in Seat­tle on May 15. A U.S. ap­peals court on Mon­day al­lowed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s new­est ver­sion of the travel ban to par­tially take ef­fect. The de­ci­sion “closely tracks guid­ance pre­vi­ously is­sued by the Supreme Court,” Chin said in a state­ment. “I’m pleased that fam­ily ties to the U. S., in­clud­ing grand­par­ents, will be re­spected. We con­tinue to pre­pare for sub­stan­tive ar­gu­ments be­fore the Ninth Cir­cuit on De­cem­ber 6 in Seat­tle.”

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