Coveted exemptions from Trump’s travel ban remain elusive for citizens of Muslim-majority countries

Source: The Washington Post

President Trump’s travel ban prevented Mohammed Al-Awadhi’s Yemeni wife from joining him in Arkansas, but he was certain she would qualify for a waiver: She has a serious heart condition, she’s married to a law-abiding U.S. citizen and the rejection of her visa would tear apart their marriage and leave her in a nation ravaged by war and famine.

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But Al-Awadhi has become increasingly skeptical that the Trump administration is applying its waiver standards to those who qualify. Five months after the travel ban went into effect, immigration advocates say the waivers — golden tickets provided by the State Department that allow certain citizens from the prohibited countries to immigrate to the U.S. based on special circumstances — have been nearly impossible to get.

The State Department says it has granted hundreds of waivers, but declined to say who received them and how. The administration has touted the existence of such waivers in defense of the travel ban — which critics have labeled a “Muslim ban” — saying they allow the neediest to come to the United States and prove the policy is not racist or discriminatory.

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