As partial travel ban kicks in, agencies worry about refugees in limbo

Although President Donald Trump's initial so-called travel ban prompted airport protests and sparked lawsuits, a poll released Wednesday found that most voters support new guidelines requiring visa applicants from six predominantly Muslim countries to prove a family relationship to enter the U.S.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson denied the emergency motion that asked for a clarification of the phrase "bona fide" regarding relationships, saying that is up to the Supreme Court, not him. Though the partial ban will keep some refugees out, the court said that those with "bona fide" relationships in the US could still enter, even if the 50,000 cap had been reached. "This court will not upset the Supreme Court's careful balancing and 'equitable judgment, '" Watson wrote in his ruling.

"For five days and counting, the Government has been directing United States consulates and refugee processing organizations to deny entry to foreign nationals whose grandparents, aunts, nephews, and other close relatives are waiting for them in this country". After Watson and a federal judge in Maryland barred enforcement of the order and were upheld by appeals courts, the Supreme Court granted review June 26 and allowed partial enforcement of the order while the case was pending.

Critics claim that Trump's executive order is a "Muslim ban". "Clarification should be sought there, not here".

After last month's Supreme Court ruling, the government said that a "bona fide relationship" meant close family members only, such as parents, spouses, fiancés, siblings and children.

But the government said workers with offers of employment with a US company and global students are fundamentally different than refugees receiving help from USA resettlement agencies.

The State Department says the USA refugee admissions program won't be suspended until next week and has told resettlement agencies to continue scheduling arrivals through then.

The Department of Justice lawyers filed court papers citingthat the government's definition "hews closely to the categorical determinations articulated by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act".

The ban is also popular among independent voters.

Unfortunately for President Trump, despite what he might have said in his statement, the decision was not unanimous, and it will result in some unintended consequences. "The scope of the travel and refugee bans badly needs to be resolved and not just according to the Trump administration's interpretation". In this particular instance, there was no mention of banning Muslims, and the question accurately reflected what the temporary travel ban is all about.

Vanessa Coleman

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