By: Earnest Jones | 06-30-2017 | News
Photo credit: Roxie Johnson

Refugee Advocates Overly Concerned About the New Challenges Under Travel Ban

The president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Linda Hartke and NPR's Ari Shapiro were talking about how President Trump's revised travel ban will affect refugees. Refugee advocates are concerned over the impact of the travel ban on families.

Refugee resettlement agencies had expected that their formal links with would-be refugees would qualify as bona fide. But US officials said on Thursday that, for now, that sort of relationship was not enough to qualify refugees for entry.

The decision made by Trump’s administration likely means that few refugees beyond a 50,000-cap set by Trump would be allowed into the country this year.

A US official said that as of Wednesday evening, 49,009 refugees had been allowed into the country this fiscal year. The State Department said refugees scheduled to arrive through July 6 could still enter.

The announcement on the travel ban was first made on the 27th of Jan, calling it a counterterrorism measure to allow time to develop better security vetting. The order caused chaos at airports, as officials scrambled to enforce it before being blocked by courts. Opponents argued that the measure discriminated against Muslims and that there was no security rationale for it.

The Supreme Court’s ruling about people who have a bona fide relationship was fleshed out in the State Department guidance, distributed to all US diplomatic posts on Wednesday evening.

It defined a close familial relationship as being a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step-siblings and other step-family relations.

A Department cable said grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancés, "and any other 'extended' family members" are not considered close family.

The guidelines also said that workers with offers of employment from a company in the United States or a lecturer addressing US audiences would be exempted from the ban, but that arrangements such as a hotel reservation would not be considered bona fide relationships.

The LA Times Reported, government statistic showed that more than 25,000 refugees were permitted to enter and reside in the United States at the end of the Obama administration. In the initial months under President Trump, the number fell to 13,000.

The statistics were released by the Department of Homeland Security, based on information supplied by the State Department.


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