Tens of Thousands of Visas Rejected Under President’s Travel Ban

The State Department denied over 37,000 visa applications last year as a result of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, data released by the agency shows.

A spokesperson for the State Department confirmed that visa applications by citizens of those countries listed in the President’s third version of the so-called travel ban were rejected under Presidential Proclamation 9645.

That iteration of Trump’s controversial executive order took full effect in December 2017, after the Supreme Court allowed it. Two lower courts had previously partially blocked it, but the Supreme Court upheld the ban in June 2018.

“Since December 8, 2017, the Department has fully implemented Presidential Proclamation 9645, consistent with the December 4, 2017 Supreme Court order,” the State Department spokesperson said.

In comparison, only about 1,000 applications were turned down in 2017 under the same category.

The data released Tuesday does not, however, break down the denied applicants by country. But previous figures indicate that visa issuance to citizens of Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya has fallen almost 80 percent since 2016, before the ban was implemented.

The State Department’s numbers also show that out of the 37,000 rejected visa applications, 15,384 were for immigrant visas and another 21,645 for nonimmigrant visas, given to individuals who intend to only reside in the U.S. temporarily.

The agency’s spokesman further said that if a visa applicant is “otherwise eligible for a visa and does not qualify for an exception,” consular officers are permitted to grant waivers “on a case by case basis” if the applicant could prove that “denying entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship; his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security or public safety of the United States; and his or her entry would be in the national interest.”

He added that as of January 2019, 2,673 applicants had been granted visas under this criteria and many of them “have received their visas.”

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