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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Modified version of Trump’s travel ban takes effect

The guidelines exempt visitors with a “bona fide” relationship with those already in the US and those coming to study, work or attend conferences.

world Updated: Jun 30, 2017 23:40 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
People wait at an airport in New York ahead of the travel ban.
People wait at an airport in New York ahead of the travel ban.(Reuters)

A modified version of US President Donald Trump’s travel ban went into effect on Thursday evening, barring refugees and people from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the country.

According to the final guidelines issued by the state department, all refugees and visitors from Libya, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Syria are banned from entering the US for periods of 120 days and 90 days respectively — time needed to fix the screening process.

The guidelines exempt visitors with “bona fide” relationship with those already in the US — “close family” like parents, children, siblings, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, stepchildren. Also exempted are those coming to study, work or attend conferences.

However, those affected by the ban include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins and fiancés. This was cited by lawyers of the state of Hawaii as the reason for filing a suit just minutes before the order went into effect, asking a federal judge to stop the government from enforcing the “illegal and unconstitutional” ban.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court upheld the travel ban Trump had sought by citing national security concerns, saying it will affect all “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”.

The top court left the executive branch to determine what will and will not constitute a “bone fide relationship”.

The state department on Thursday sent cables to its missions, allowing preparations to be made in order to prevent a repeat of the chaotic rollout of the original order in January.

“It will be business as usual for us,” a senior administration official told reporters previewing the new rules taking effect. “We expect things to run smoothly, and our people are well-prepared for this and they will handle the entry of people with visas professionally, respectfully, and responsibly, as they have always done, with an eye toward ensuring that the country is protected from persons looking to travel here to do harm.”

The new order is a modified version of an executive order issued by Trump on March 6, narrowing the scope of the original order that applied to seven Muslim-majority countries (including Iraq). The order was stayed by lower courts for being discriminatory against a particular religion and unconstitutional.

While protests and challenges have been muted this time in comparison, they were not altogether missing. In a statement calling for congress to overturn Trump’s ban, cited by The Washington Post, Amnesty International’s Naureen Shah has said, the order is “separating families based on these definitions is simply heartless … and it further proves the callous and discriminatory nature of Trump’s Muslim ban”.

And, Johnathan Smith, legal director of Muslim Advocates, has said, “Defining close family to exclude grandparents, cousins, and other relatives defies common sense.”

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 22:17 IST

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