With the latest version of the US travel ban, refugees who have fled for their lives and spent years seeking safety remain trapped in limbo.
Today, the Trump Administration released its guidelines for the revised travel ban, revealing that its narrow definition of ‘bona fide relationships’ prohibits grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and fiancés from being reunited with their families here in the US.
Additionally, the State Department stated that official US refugee resettlement agencies, who in many cases have been working with refugees for multiple years now, are no longer considered ‘bona fide.’
“All Americans can surely recognize how important these familial relationships are in our own lives, and realize how unduly harsh these limitations are for families around the world,” said Noah Gottschalk, Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor. “Refugees who have fled for their lives and spent years seeking safety are now left at the whim of bureaucratic interpretations and changes. Vulnerable people around the world are watching as their hopes to find safety in the US quickly fade. For people who have already experienced so much suffering, this legal limbo just adds insult to injury.”
On June 26th, the Supreme Court decided that it will hear the case against President Trump’s harmful and discriminatory executive order on immigrants and refugees. Until the Supreme Court reviews the case in the fall, a revised version of the ban has been implemented—banning travelers from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and halting refugee admission for 120 days, with exceptions only for those who have a 'bona fide relationship' with a person or institution in the United States.
The revised ban puts the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk worldwide and poses a direct threat to Oxfam’s humanitarian mission. “Oxfam remains steadfast in our commitment to welcome and protect refugees and immigrants to the United States,” said Abby Maxman, President of Oxfam America. “To that end, Oxfam plans to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of plaintiffs challenging this harmful and discriminatory Executive Order.”
“We call on the Supreme Court to affirm the decisions of both the 4th and 9th Circuits that this illegal and immoral ban should not take effect," said Maxman. "A cornerstone of the founding values of the US is to offer oppressed people refuge from violence and persecution, and we will continue to fight to uphold that legacy. As Americans we must open our minds, hearts, and borders to vulnerable refugees fleeing violence and persecution.”