Immigrant Advocacy Groups Urge Travelers to 'Book Flights Immediately'

Federal government

ByBy: GABRIELA MILIAN
February 4, 2017, 4:11 PM

— -- Refugee advocacy groups are urging travelers from seven countries including President Trump's travel ban to book flights to the U.S. immediately, after a federal judge in Washington state ruled a nationwide halt on certain aspects of the ban.

In line with the judge's order, visas issued to citizens from the seven banned nations that had been denied will now be accepted.

Rebecca Heller, the director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), said the groups "encourage all travelers from the seven affected countries to rebook travel to the United States immediately, while the stay of the executive order remains in place and visas are valid."

In a joint statement, the refugee advocacy groups IRAP, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road New York, and Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, noted that the federal government is expected to challenge the judge's temporary restraining order soon.

While the temporary restraining order stands, residents from the seven countries affected countries -- Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya -- whose visas were not physically stamped "CANCELLED" will be allowed travel into the U.S., according to IRAP.

According to the order issued by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart, several sections of Trump's executive action were put on hold because of "immediate and irreparable injury as the result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order."

"The Executive Order adversely affects the States' residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel," the ruling says.

The affected sections of the order include the 90-day ban on immigration from the seven countries; the 120-day suspension of the refugee program; prioritization of refugee claims made on religious grounds; indefinite suspension of the Syrian refugee program; and prioritizing refugee of "certain religious minorities."

"This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban," said Omar Jadwat, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project. "We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order."

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