Washington, Jun 29 (PTI) The Trump administration is all set to partially implement its travel ban against people coming from six Muslim majority nations.
Being enforced from tonight 8 pm (5:30 am IST), officials said the travel ban is being rolled out across the country as part of its effort to prevent people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US.
The move comes after the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the vast majority of the US President’s March 6 ‘Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States’ could go into effect.
“As recent events have shown, we are living in a very dangerous time, and the US government needs every available tool to prevent terrorists from entering the country and committing acts of bloodshed and violence. And as the President reiterated following Monday’s ruling, his number one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe,” said a senior administration official.
Ahead of its implementation, officials hoped to have business as usual at the airports.
“We expect business as usual at the ports of entry starting at 8:00 pm tonight. There have been reports of people who have already indicated that they would like to be there to either cause chaos or to protest. Lawyers have indicated they would like to be at the ports of entry to assist people,” a senior administration official said.
“As long as they are in the public area of the airports, that is completely their business as long as they abide by the guidance from the airport authorities,” the official said.
According to another official, the plan is not to cancel previously scheduled visa application appointments, so individuals should continue to come in for their visa interviews as scheduled.
“Our consular officers have then been given detailed instructions to make case-by-case determinations on whether individuals would qualify for visas under the new guidance,” the official said.
“We will first be applying the traditional screening to these individuals. That is, we will be assessing whether they qualify under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and we will then see, if they do qualify under the INA, whether they qualify under the guidance. Individuals who are qualified will then be subjected to all vetting as normal. All security and screening vetting will be applied to anybody who is deemed qualified for a visa,” the official said.
During a conference call with reporters, a third administration official said while there is a blanket ban on refugees, those part of the family can still come in.
“On the family side, those relationships have been defined to include parents, spouses, children, adult son or daughters, sons and daughter-in-laws, and siblings,” the official said.
“As regards relationships with entities in the United States, these need to be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course of events rather than to evade the executive order itself,” the official added.
A resettlement agency in the US has provided a formal assurance for refugees seeking admission is not sufficient, in and of itself, to establish a bona fide relationship under the ruling.
So far this year, the US has admitted 49,009 refugees.
For purposes of enforcement, visas that have been issued by the Department of State prior to the effective date of the executive order are to be considered as valid for travel and seeking entry into the United States unless revoked on an unrelated basis, the official said.
“Someone who has a visa will be allowed to be admitted.
If, for some reason, there is another basis, they will not.
But generally and in almost all cases, that will not apply. We can give some examples if people need them, but this happens on a routine basis: people with visas who show up who there’s intelligence on them not being admitted, there’s criminal activity, fraudulent documents — just the normal course of business,” the official explained.
The executive order does not bar entry for individuals who are excluded from the suspension provision under the terms of the order who obtain a waiver from State or Customs or who demonstrate a bona fide relationship, the official added.
According to a senior administration official, upon arrival to a port of entry, travelers are still subject to inspection and must satisfy all requirements under federal law and regulation.
“Individuals will not be denied entry based solely on their being a national from one of these countries,” the official said.