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Advocates for Muslims Sue Trump Administration for Denying Visas to Syrian Family

  • VOA News

FILE - President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, Jan. 27, 2017.

An American woman and her Syrian family are suing the Trump administration for denying them visas to come to the U.S. after their applications were approved.

The Washington-based group Muslim Advocates and a Washington law firm are representing the family, whose names have not been made public.

The group is blaming President Donald Trump's travel ban against several Muslim-majority countries, including Syria.

"This family's life has been severely disrupted because of the chaotic and discriminatory Muslim ban," Muslim Advocates legal director Johnathan Smith said.

The American woman, who is a U.S. citizen, petitioned the government to bring her sister and her sister's husband and four children from Syria to the United States in 2004.

According to Muslim Advocates, the family's visas were finally approved this past February, just before the Trump travel ban took effect. They were told they could travel to Lebanon to collect their visas

The couple quit their jobs and took the children out of school, only to be told that the visa approvals had been canceled.

The family is now stuck in what Muslim Advocates calls administrative limbo.

No U.S. official has explained to the family why the approved visas were rescinded.

The group is not legally challenging the Trump travel ban; it's contesting the way it is being applied to the family.

"They should never have been turned away," Smith said. "They should be working and studying in the United States, not left to suffer in a war-torn country."

The travel ban expires next month, to be replaced by a series of new measures that still restrict immigration from North Korea and six Muslim-majority states — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

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