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US Embassy in Sudan to resume visa applications as Judge suspends Trump travel ban

February 5 - 2017 KHARTOUM
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

The US Embassy in Khartoum has announced that it will resume processing of existing visa applications, and again schedule appointments for new ones, in response to a US Federal Court Order effectively suspending the travel ban for Muslim-majority countries imposed by President Donald Trump.

The controversial Executive Order 13769, signed by President Donald Trump on January 27, on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”, blocked entry into the USA for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. It sparked chaos and confusion at US airports, protests across the country, and international condemnation from even America’s closest allies.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned US Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis. FA Under-Secretary, Ambassador Abdelghani El Naeem conveyed his government’s resentment regarding the decision, and told him that Khartoum considers the decision “a negative message in light of the positive developments in the course of relations between the two countries”.

Suspension

On Friday, a US Federal Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington, granted a nationwide temporary restraining order that blocks the travel ban. The Justice Department appealed the decision, but early this morning, the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco upheld Judge Robart’s ruling, which questions whether President Trump exceeded his constitutional powers by issuing the order.

An announcement published on the Embassy’s website on Saturday says: “An order issued by a US District court in the state of Washington on February 3 bars the US government from enforcing certain provisions of Executive Order 13769…”,

“The Department of State had, under the Executive Order, provisionally revoked all valid visas of nationals of those seven countries, with limited exceptions. That provisional revocation is now lifted, and those visas are now valid for travel to the United States, if the holder is otherwise eligible. Individuals whose visas are expired, or were physically cancelled, must apply for a new visa at a US embassy or consulate, absent a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) decision to grant parole or waive the visa requirement at the port of entry.”

‘Review screening procedures’

The statement explains that the Executive Order “directs us to review current screening procedures, while protecting national security – our top priority when issuing visas.

“The U.S. government’s national security screening and vetting procedures for visitors are constantly reviewed and refined to improve security and more effectively identify individuals who could pose a threat to the United States. We welcome every opportunity to continue to review and improve our systems and procedures. In implementing this executive order, the Department of State had temporarily stopped scheduling appointments and halted processing of immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications for individuals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, with limited exceptions. Processing of those applications has now resumed and appointments will be scheduled,” the statement concludes.


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