The Trump administration's ban on refugees that lack a "bona fide" relationship with the United States is expected to go into effect on or around next Wednesday, a week later than the State Department initially predicted.
President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days also suspended the resettlements of refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days, and slashed the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. annually to 50,000 for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, a drop from 110,000.
The travel ban, issued by executive order in January and adjusted in March, had been halted by lower court rulings. But the Supreme Court in June allowed parts of the ban to be implemented for travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as all refugees, except for those who could demonstrate close a family relationship, education or business ties to a person or an organization in the U.S.
Following the court's ruling, the Trump administration issued new guidance for visa applications, including for new refugees after the 50,000-person cap had been reached.
Originally, the State Department predicted the cap would be reached on Thursday. But as of Thursday morning, the number of refugees admitted since last October was 49,501, according to the Associated Press. As as a result, the State Department says it now expects the cap will be met, and the new rules implemented, on or around July 12. Arrivals can continue until then, State said.
Speaking on Thursday to reporters, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert left the door open for the date to be adjusted again.
"At the time... we estimated that the number would be reached within a few weeks, so there was never any particular date that was set out," Nauert said.
"I'm not going to name a date," she said, when pressed. "We have not reached that number of 50,000 just yet; when we do reach that number, whatever date that falls on, that will be the time."
The flow of refugees so far this year has been slower than expected, despite the roadblocks Trump's executive order has faced, in part because the legal wrangling over the ban has caught some would-be refugees in legal limbo.
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