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Somali Refugee Trying To Bring Family To U.S. Challenges Trump Travel Ban

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
International arrival gate at Sea-Tac Airport International Airport

A Somali refugee who lives in Seattle is one of the people challenging President Trump’s travel ban saying it’s illegally preventing him from reuniting with his family. Oral arguments will be heard Thursday, December 21, before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle. Robart has ruled on a number of travel ban cases and was one of the first federal judge's to grant an injunction temporarily halting enactment of the  travel ban after President Trump signed an Executive Order putting it in place. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which is suing on behalf of refugees, the Somali refugee, identified in court documents as Joseph Doe, has a tragic story. He fled civil war in Somalia and saw his older sister die in front of him after she was raped by fighters. He spent 22 years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

Finally in 2014, he made it to the United States where he’s now a legal permanent resident. He petitioned  to have his wife and three children join him. They had gone through a lengthy vetting process and were waiting to come to the U.S. when President Trump halted the program known as “follow to join” that allows loved ones to join refugees who are already here.

The ACLU argues that, because the provision is part of  federal statute created by Congress under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the President can’t undo it. The Administration counters that, much like the travel ban, the President has broad authority when it comes to immigration.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.