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Trump travel ban to take partial effect after ruling

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-30 10:16

Visa applicants need a 'close' family or business tie with the US

WASHINGTON - The US government has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.

Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department on Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the US to be eligible.

The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval to the country.

Trump travel ban to take partial effect after ruling

Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all US embassies and consulates on Wednesday. The new rules were scheduled to take effect on Thursday, according to the cable.

Lawyers and advocates both for and against the travel ban said the result could be a flood of legal challenges by travelers, immigrants and their supporters - further slowing arrivals from the six countries.

Immigrant advocates were preparing for the onset of the ban, saying they would be at airports to aid any arriving travelers that immigration officers seeks to send back.

Shortly after taking office, Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq. He said it was needed to protect the US from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the country.

The initial travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world, but because the guidelines exempt previously issued visas, similar problems are not expected. After a judge blocked the original ban, Trump issued a scaled-down order and the court's action on 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.

Meanwhile, the US unveiled enhanced security measures on Wednesday for flights to the country designed to prevent expanding an in-cabin ban on laptops.

"Security is my No 1 concern," Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. "Our enemies are adaptive and we have to adapt as well."

The measures, which European and US officials said would begin taking effect within three weeks, could require additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives.

The measures would affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the US, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.

Ap - Afp - Reuters

(China Daily 06/30/2017 page11)

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