Limited travel ban impacts local organization

Limited travel ban affect in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A limited version of President Trump's travel ban went into effect Thursday night. 

Travelers from six predominately Muslim nations are only allowed to come into the United States if they have a ''bona fide'' relationship to someone in the country. It also stops all refugees from entering the country for the next 120 days unless they too have a ''bona fide'' relationship.

"It has definitely impacted our job. We've had some months where we've had quite a few refugee arrivals but then we have other months, like the month of June, where we didn't welcome any refugees," Kristine Van Noord with Bethany Christian Services, said. "It's the first time I ever had that happen in the many years that I've been doing this." 

Thursday's reinstatement of the President's travel ban has a major impact here in West Michigan.

"We were ready to welcome a Syrian family that have been victims of a terrorist attack and they will not be able to come anymore," Van Noord, said. 

While travelers from six countries must have a ''bona fide'' relationship to enter the states, all refuges have been stopped for 120 days unless they too have a 'bona fide' relationship.

That's includes: parents, siblings, spouses, child, step relatives and in-laws. It does not include: grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or cousins.

"In so many of these cultures we're serving, grandparents aunts and uncles are incredibly involved in their lives in raising them, so this is definitely separating families." 

Despite the refugee ban only being 120 days, Van Noord says some refugee families, like those in the Congo working to get to the United States for the last 20 years, may have to wait a few more.

"They've finally gotten approved everything is ready to go and in the next four months all of their security process is going to expire and they're going to have to start the process again, and that process may take two and a half years," Van Noord, said.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the ban in October.

Van Noord says they were planning on welcoming 420 refugees to West Michigan this year but she guesses they'll only see roughly 260 by the end of the year. 

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