Travel ban legal battles continue, as Trump administration appeals new injunction

The Trump administration is appealing a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block the president’s second travel ban from going into effect — setting up another legal showdown in an appeals court.

The first version of the ban, temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program and barring entry into the U.S. from residents of seven majority-Muslim countries, was quickly blocked by a federal judge in Washington state. The Justice Department appealed that temporary restraining order, but a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of the ban.

Then President Trump issued a new ban — one designed to address the legal concerns of the 9th Circuit, the administration says. It omitted Iraq from the list of barred countries, removed references to religion and excluded green card holders and people who already had visas, among other changes.

That new executive order was also swiftly challenged in court. Earlier this week, two federal judges in separate courts blocked portions of the ban — a judge in Hawaii imposed a temporary restraining order, and a judge in Maryland granted a narrower, but potentially longer-lasting, preliminary injunction.

It’s the Maryland injunction that the Trump administration is moving to appeal, asking the 4th Circuit Court to intervene.

Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Maryland case, says the ban has “fared miserably in the courts.”

“We look forward to defending this careful and well-reasoned decision in the appeals court,” he says, referring to Judge Theodore D. Chuang’s decision to grant the preliminary injunction.

The Trump administration had signaled on Thursday that it planned to appeal Chuang’s decision; press secretary Sean Spicer said the administration would seek clarification on the Hawaii ruling before appealing that case.

The article was published at Travel ban legal battles continue, as Trump administration appeals new injunction

Hundreds of doctors in LA County could be affected by new travel ban

Among those who will feel the impact of President Trump’s revised travel ban are hundreds of doctors in Los Angeles County who come from the six majority-Muslim countries named in his executive order.

“We are concerned that … doctors might have challenges traveling to visit loved ones or there might be physicians in one of those countries right now who might have problems getting back to this country to care for his or her patients,” said Gustavo Friederichsen, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Medical Association.  Friederichsen said the ban would also make it difficult for patients in those countries seeking treatment in the U.S.

The executive order, which is due to go into effect on Thursday, temporarily blocks visas from being issued to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen to “to protect the Nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals.” The ban does not include permanent residents and those who already have visas, but doctors applying for new visas or seeking to renew expired ones would require a waiver. Several states are challenging the order’s constitutionality in court.

“Los Angeles is actually the metro area in the United States which has the highest number of doctors from the banned countries,” according to Jonathan Roth, a Harvard PhD student and one of the researchers who worked on the Immigrant Doctors Project.

Roth, along with other researchers from Harvard and MIT, used the location of the medical school where a doctor was trained as a way to calculate a doctor’s country of origin. Since many doctors train abroad, Roth says it’s likely that the number of doctors affected by the ban is much larger than their estimates.

More than 900 doctors in Los Angeles went to medical school in one of the six countries listed in the executive order, more than three-quarters of them in Iran, he says. While many doctors could be citizens, permanent residents or visa holders exempt from the ban, Roth says they may still be affected if they need to renew their visas or if their loved ones are unable to travel.

One of the main purposes of the Immigrant Doctors Project is to show the contribution doctors from the banned countries make to healthcare, says Roth. The researchers estimate that doctors from the six countries see patients at 14 million appointments each year.

“While immigrant doctors are just a small fraction of the people from these countries in the United States, they’re a group for which their impacts are very tangible,” says Roth.

The California Medical Association criticized the Trump administration’s previous attempt to impose a travel ban, arguing that it would prevent foreign doctors from working in the country at a time when there is a growing shortage of physicians.

“There is no doubt that a robust and well-trained workforce is essential to meeting the health care demands for all Californians – we can’t afford to ban qualified physicians who already adhere to rigorous U.S. legal and medical licensing requirements,” Association President  Dr. Ruth Haskins said in a Feb. 17 statement.

The American Medical Association has expressed concerns about the effect the revised ban could have on the medical profession.

“Hundreds of physicians from six countries are subject to the revised executive order and have applied to U.S. training programs and requested visa sponsorship,” AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman said in a statement.

“The new executive order leaves them in limbo and without an explicit waiver,” which means “these foreign physicians will be unable to provide care in the U.S. when training programs begin on July 1,” he said.

The administration should also clarify which factors will be taken into account when considering an application by someone seeking to enter the country to receive medical treatment, said Gurman.

The article was published at Hundreds of doctors in LA County could be affected by new travel ban