Immigrant leaders and their advocates in Maine are not immediately aware of anyone who will be barred from traveling to Maine because of President Trump’s revived travel ban.

But they are still worried about the practical implementation of the new policy and the broader impacts of the restrictions that took effect Thursday night.

“The feeling is that it is the policy of the administration to eliminate, to basically stop all immigration from Muslim countries,” said Mahmoud Hassan, president of the Somali Community Association of Maine.

The U.S. Supreme Court will review Trump’s travel ban in the fall. Until then, the court allowed a scaled-back version of the president’s executive order. For the next 90 days, visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen – will need to prove close family or institutional ties to the United States before gaining entry. Refugees from any country also will be barred for 120 days if they cannot show those connections.

Hassan said refugees from his home country already go through years of vetting to enter the United States. He worried travel would become more difficult even for people who are not subject to the ban simply because they are from Somalia or one of the other listed countries.

“For an executive order to stand labeling entire communities as dangerous and unsafe just adds to the pressure on these communities, and adds to the power of certain agencies to inconvenience and make it difficult for safe and legal and law-abiding citizens,” Hassan said.

Organizations that work with immigrants in Maine said the exception for family reunifications is positive for many of their clients.

The federal government resettled more than 3,200 refugees in Maine from 2011 to 2016, according to Catholic Charities, the agency that administers local resettlements. Spokeswoman Judy Katzel said many of the refugees resettled by the organization are meeting their relatives in Maine and would not be affected by the ban.

Refugee resettlement already has slowed in Maine in the first months of Trump’s presidency, Katzel said, and she was not aware of any impending arrivals to Maine that would be delayed by the travel ban.

The State Department issued instructions on who is considered a close family member on Thursday. But Sue Roche, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Maine, said there is still confusion about what relationships exempt a person from the travel ban and what documentation is required to prove them. Providing proof of ties to the United States could be prohibitive for some people, she said.

The nonprofit receives anxious calls regularly from people with questions about Trump’s immigration policies, Roche said, even naturalized citizens and legal permanent residents who are not impacted by the ban.

“There is still a lot of fear in the community that this is targeting people based on their religion and their country of origin,” Roche said.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: