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US so far granted waivers to 6 percent of applicants on travel ban list: report

Friday April 5, 2019
By Rachel Frazin

Protests have taken place nationwide against the travel ban [File: Tony Gentile/Reuters

During the first 11 months of President Trump's travel ban, the U.S. only granted waivers to six percent of visa applicants from countries on the list, according to analysis published Thursday.

State Department officials ruled that just 2,216 applicants qualified for a waiver out of the almost 38,000 visa applications they reviewed for people subject to the travel ban who were otherwise qualified for visas, Reuters found.

Of the 2,216 people who were deemed qualified, 670 were not yet given their visas even though they anticipated receiving them, the wire service found.

Assistant Secretary of State Mary Taylor reportedly gave the data to Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who then gave the information to Reuters.

“This data paints a clear – and deeply disturbing – picture of the Trump travel ban,” Van Hollen said in a statement to Reuters. “The administration repeatedly swore to the Supreme Court and the American people that this was not a de-facto Muslim ban and that there was a clear waiver process to ensure fairness. That couldn’t be further from reality.”

"A consular officer carefully reviews each case to determine if the applicant is covered by the Proclamation and, if so, whether the case qualifies for a waiver," a State Department spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.

"As of January 31, 2019, since the implementation of the Proclamation, 2,673 applicants were cleared for waivers after a consular officer determined the applicants satisfied all criteria and completed all required processing," the spokesperson added.  "Many of those applicants already have received their visas."

The travel ban limits people from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen and some from Venezuela from traveling to the U.S.

Critics of the ban argue that it unfairly targets people from Muslim-majority countries. People from these countries can be granted waivers if they show that denying their visa would cause undue hardship, that they do not threaten national security and that it would help the country to permit their entry.


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