Washington D.C., Sep 14, 2017 / 13:58 pm
As the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed part of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to stand temporarily, the U.S. bishops' conference sympathized with the refugees affected by the ban.
“We were disappointed that those who were already assured and really all cleared and ready to come as refugees were not allowed to come during this period,” Matt Wilch of the Office of Migration and Refugee Services at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told CNA.
The application of the travel ban that was upheld by the court Sept. 12 would affect refugees who had received a “formal assurance” of resettlement from an agency in the U.S., probably numbering more than 20,000, Wilch said. These refugees would be currently unable to travel to the U.S. on that condition.
That application of the travel restrictions in Trump’s executive order on immigration had been halted from going into effect in a recent decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In his March executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”, Trump had restricted travel to the U.S. from six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Syria. Foreign nationals from those countries could not enter the U.S. for 90 days unless they had a special visa.
In Hawaii’s challenge to the travel ban, the Hawaii district court issued a temporary injunction against enforcing the ban on refugees and immigrants with family members living in the U.S., including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, grandchildren, and brothers and sisters-in-law.
The district court also issued a temporary injunction against enforcement of the travel ban on refugees who already had a “formal assurance” of placement in the U.S. from a resettlement agency.
The Ninth Circuit court upheld that decision recently, saying that the travel ban could not be applied to refugees and immigrants in those cases.