Local group: 'No refugees' coming into U.S. after travel ban takes effect

A local group that helps people settle in the U.S. worries about its effects locally.

There's confusion in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to allow parts of Donald Trump's proposed travel ban to go into effect.

The ban affects the following countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It also affects families living in the Tampa Bay area.

Magda Saleh has felt sick and frustrated after hearing the news.

Her nonprofit group, "Radiant Hands," has been helping refugee families resettle in the U.S. for almost two years.

“As long as this decision stands after July 6th for at least four months, there will be no refugees coming into the country,” says Saleh.  “We won't know what the decision will be like after those 120 days.”

Shortly after the announcement, Magda started seeing fewer and fewer refugees.

“We have been getting four to nine families a month. We used to get six families a week. So, the numbers have gone down and it just a lot of uncertainly for the families here who are expecting loved ones to come,” says Saleh.

It's also putting the jobs of many nonprofits that assist these refugees across Tampa Bay in danger.

“Staffing issues after the first travel ban, a lot of people were let go and the programs were closed.  When that got overturned, a lot of people got hired back. Now, with the Supreme Court supporting this one, we don't know how many will lose their jobs in the resettlement agencies,” she says.

The ban would protect the vast majority of people seeking to enter the United States to visit a relative, accept a job, attend a university or deliver a speech.

However, for refugees wanting to be freed from their war-torn countries, there's no protection.

Advocate Asad Sheikh calls the ban disorganized and says many in the Muslim community report those breaking the law.

“You can never mitigate risk completely. You can do vetting, but the problem arises when you call for extreme vetting but not outline the steps you're taking,” says Sheikh.

In October, the Supreme Court will hear from travelers from the six banned countries.

If the justices decide the ban is illegal or unconstitutional, the current ruling may be overturned. 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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