The Latest: US adds fiancés to travel ban exemptions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration’s revived travel ban for visitors from six mostly Muslim countries (all times EDT):
The Trump administration has apparently altered its definition of a “bona fide” relationship, adding fiancés of people in the U.S. to its list of people who are exempt from its travel ban from six mainly Muslim nations.
The administration had set criteria for visa applicants from the six nations and all refugees that require a “close” family or business tie to the United States. The guidelines sent to U.S. embassies and consulates on Wednesday said applicants from the six countries must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the U.S.
Guidance released Thursday by the State Department and the Homeland Security Department adds “fiancé” to that definition of “close familial relationship.”
Los Angeles International Airport has been relatively calm after a new travel ban took effect Thursday, but some visitors are still nervous.
Hanadi Al-haj of Diamond Bar, California, came early to pick up her mother, 65-year-old Amal Bagoon, who was in Yemen but has a U.S. green card.
There were no problems, but Al-haj says she still worried about how the ban might affect other relatives.
Her father, two sisters and other relatives left war-torn Yemen but are stuck in Jordan. Last year, U.S. officials denied their requests for entry.
Al-haj says, “They want to come here to visit me but we have war in Yemen. They will not allow it.” she said. “They reject (them) right away.”
Al-haj, a 15-year resident, says, “It makes me sad as an American.”
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin says he’s concerned the Trump administration may be violating the U.S. Supreme Court’s travel ban ruling.
The travel ban temporarily barring some citizens of six majority-Muslim countries from coming into the United States went into effect Thursday. The new rules stop people from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran and Libya from getting a visa to the United States unless they have a “bona fide” relationship with a close relative, school or business in the U.S.
Chin says many of the people that the federal government decided to exclude are considered “close family” in Hawaii.
A federal judge in Hawaii is expected to issue a ruling on Hawaii’s motion asking for clarification that the administration can’t enforce the ban against fiancés or relatives not defined by the administration guidelines.
The Trump administration’s travel ban temporarily barring some citizens of six majority-Muslim countries from coming to the United States in now in place.
The ban is entering into force because of a Supreme Court opinion this week.
The new rules stop people from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran and Libya from getting a visa to the United States unless they have a “bona fide” relationship with a close relative, school or business in the U.S.
The order doesn’t block anyone with a valid visa from entering the country. Refugees vetted and approved to move to the U.S. through July 6 are also being allowed in.
Hawaii has filed a court challenge to the Trump administration’s limitations on the family relationships people from six mostly Muslim countries need to claim to avoid a travel ban.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday exempted people from the ban if they can prove a “bone fide” relationship with a U.S. citizen or entity. The Trump administration had said the exemption would apply to citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.
Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against fiancés or relatives not defined by the administration guidelines.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson did not immediately issue a ruling.
The U.N. refugee agency says it hopes for a “generous approach” from the United States as the Trump administration adjusts U.S. refugee resettlement policies.
Spokesman William Spindler of UNHCR noted the U.S. “tradition of generosity toward those fleeing war and persecution” after the administration set new criteria for visa applicants from six mostly Muslim nations and all refugees.
International aid agencies like UNHCR have been seeking new details about the changes after the U.S. Supreme Court partially restored a travel ban sought by the administration.
Spindler said the U.S., like any country, can screen applicants for resettlement and set criteria for entry like language skills or family ties. He said resettlement is reserved for the most vulnerable people, like at-risk women and girls, people with acute medical conditions or torture victims.
Spindler said the United States, even if it takes in 50,000 refugees this year, would remain the world leader in resettlement. Turkey has taken in the most refugees overall, at more than 3 million people — many from neighboring Syria.
There have been no major problems reported at airports around the world, in the hours since the Trump administration announced new guidelines for visa applicants from six mostly Muslim nations. Travelers will be required to show they have a close family or business tie to the United States.
Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked. That should help avoid the chaos that accompanied the initial travel ban, when travelers with previously-approved visas were kept off flights or denied entry on arrival in the United States.
The Supreme Court this week partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that had been widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.
The Middle East’s biggest airline says its flights to the United States are operating as normal as new travel guidelines come into effect for travelers for six mainly Muslim nations.
Dubai-based Emirates said in response to questions on the travel ban Thursday that it “remains guided by the US Customs and Border Protection on this matter.”
The carrier reminded passengers that they “must possess the appropriate travel documents, including a valid US entry visa, in order to travel.”
Emirates in April announced it was reducing flights to the U.S. because of a drop in demand linked to tougher security and proposed visa measures. It flies from Dubai to 12 U.S. destinations, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.
Also, an official at the Beirut airport says Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines carrier has not received any new guidelines yet and they’re operating as normal.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to media. MEA does not operate direct flights to the United States but is used by many Syrians who travel to the U.S. via MEA with a stopover in Europe.
—Zeina Karam in Beirut.
The guidelines are getting clearer on a travel ban partially restored by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a “close” family or business tie to the United States. The move comes after the court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.
Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked.
But instructions issued by the State Department on Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S.