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Off again, on again, refugees connected to family and resettlement programs can continue to immigrate, Hawaii judge rules

First Published      Last Updated Jul 14 2017 06:50 pm

Trump travel ban » Hawaii district judge expands exemptions from immigration policy.

Immigrants, including refugees, will continue to arrive in Utah after a federal judge said extended family members of residents can enter the U.S., as well as refugees sponsored by resettlement agencies, despite Trump's travel ban.

The ban requires a 90-day pause on all immigration from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. It also halts all refugee immigration for 120 days, unless the applicant can prove a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. entity, such as a university, business and, now, grandparents or extended families, or a resettlement agency, such as Catholic Community Services (CCS) or the International Rescue Committee (IRC).




U.S. District of Hawaii Judge Derrick Watson's order Thursday will allow refugees who were already in the pipeline to come to Utah, said Aden Batar, director of immigration and refugee resettlement for CCS.

"A couple of cases in July and early August that were taken off the list will now be put back on the schedule," he said Friday. "This is very positive and gives us hope to help refugees who can now arrive."

The IRC issued a statement Friday, saying the agency is "heartened" that it can continue to save the lives of those caught in harm's way.

"We are pleased that the U.S. District Court in Hawaii has further clarified the "bona fide relationship" interpretation, recognizing how important grandparents or remaining extended families may be for refugees — as well as the resettlement agencies who prepare extensively for their smooth arrival."

A June 26 Supreme Court order allowed the travel ban to go into effect until it can hear the case in October. However, the high court said that people with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity could not be banned. The order did not define "bona fide" relationship.

The State Department's definition did not include extended family or resettlement agencies.

csmart@sltrib.com

 

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