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Officials finalizing details of Trump’s revived travel ban

  • Sudanese activist Tayeb Ibrahim, who had worked to expose Sudanese abuses in the volatile South Kordofan province and hopes to see family living in the U.S. state of Iowa, watches television with his son Mohammed, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Dozens of Sudanese activists living in Egypt as refugees, many of whom fled fundamentalist Islamic militias and were close to approval for resettlement in the United States, now face legal limbo in Egypt after the Supreme Court partially reinstated President Donald Trump's travel ban. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) Amr Nabil

  • FILE - In this May 15, 2017 file photo, protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it. The action Monday, June 26, 2017, is a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) Ted S. Warren



Associated Press
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security labored Wednesday to finalize rules for visitors from six mostly Muslim nations who hope to avoid the Trump administration’s revived travel ban and come to the United States.

The deliberations came as U.S. embassies and consulates awaited instructions on how to implement this week’s Supreme Court order that partially reinstated the ban after it was blocked by lower courts. The administration has given itself a Thursday deadline for implementing the scaled-back ban, which applies to visitors from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen.

The justices’ opinion exempts applicants from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. Government lawyers must determine how to define such a relationship. The court offered only broad guidelines – suggesting they would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the U.S.

Shortly after the court’s ruling, the State Department advised all U.S. diplomatic posts to await instructions.

Until the new guidance is complete, posts were told to process applications as they had been, according to officials familiar with the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal communications publicly.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Wednesday that his agency is now starting to examine what more can do be done to better determine who is coming into the country and why. During a speech at a security event in Washington he did not address how the travel ban will be implemented.

President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban in January led to chaos at airports around the world, but airlines say they don’t expect similar problems this time. After a judge blocked the original ban, Trump issued a scaled-down order and the court’s action Monday further reduced the number of people who would be covered by it. Also, while the initial order took effect immediately, adding to the confusion, this one was delayed 72 hours after the court’s ruling.

Virgin Atlantic said it was working with Customs and Border Protection, the Homeland Security agency responsible for admitting arriving foreigners into the United States. The airline said anyone with valid travel documents is expected to be able to travel to the U.S. as normal, but it recommended that passengers from the six countries check first with the U.S. Embassy.

Some immigration groups plan to send lawyers to airports in case there are problems. The Dulles Justice Coalition, which established a pool of volunteer attorneys at Dulles International Airport after the first travel ban, is planning to return to the Virginia airport outside Washington, said DJC board member Sirine Shebaya.

It remained unclear exactly when new instructions would be distributed to embassies and consulates. Among other questions lawyers were grappling with was how specific the instructions should be in interpreting a “bona fide relationship.”

A broad interpretation, for example, could allow for a contract or reservation with a rental car agency or hotel in the United States to be considered a legitimate relationship, the officials said.