WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Seattle partially lifted President Donald Trump’s ban on US entry for certain refugees from Muslim majority nations, arguing that the measure would prevent the reunion of people with their relatives living legally in this country.
The decision was handed down on Saturday evening by federal Judge James Robart after hearing arguments made by two civil rights defense organizations – the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Family Service – and government attorneys.
The ACLU and Jewish Family Service said that the ban causes irreparable harm and puts some people at risk, while attorneys for the Trump administration argued that it is needed to guard US national security.
Robart ordered the federal government to continue the process of granting entry to certain refugees, saying however that his decision must be applied to people who have a “bona fide relationship” to a person or entity in the United States.
In late October, the US government banned the entry of refugees from 11 Muslim majority nations, most of them in Africa and the Middle East, for 90 days, at which time it said it intended to have completed a security review.
The nations affected are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Since he took office as president, Trump has criticized US immigration and refugee laws as too lax and has promised to strengthen the requirements to travel to – and gain legal residence in – this country, especially from countries with Muslim majorities.