Government seeks change to order lifting Trump refugee ban
SEATTLE — Lawyers with the Department of Justice have asked a federal judge to change his order that partially lifted a Trump administration refugee ban.
Just before Christmas, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle imposed a nationwide injunction that blocks restrictions on reuniting refugee families and partially lifted a ban on refugees from 11 mostly Muslim countries. Robart limited that part of the injunction to refugees who have a bona fide relationship with people or entities in the United States. He also said that refugees who have formal agreements with refugee resettlement agencies were covered under his order.
The government does not want to include resettlement agencies.
Government lawyers filed a motion Wednesday saying that although the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted the “bona fide relationship” to include connections to resettlement agencies, the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed that ruling. That means the highest court indicates it disagrees with the appeals court on that point, the lawyers say.
Attorneys for refugee support organization HIAS and Jewish Family Service say the government’s claims are wrong.
“The Supreme Court was clear in its earlier order protecting refugees with bona fide relationships to the US from the last temporary refugee ban,” Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of New York-based HIAS, said Thursday. “Yet in its latest ban, the Trump administration not only ignored this admonition, but went even further to explicitly prevent refugees in the U.S. from reuniting with their spouse or minor children.”
‘Obamacare’ sign-up tally dips slightly to 8.7M
WASHINGTON — More than 8.7 million people signed up for coverage next year under the Obama-era health care law, the government reported Thursday, as the program that President Donald Trump has repeatedly pronounced “a disaster” exceeded expectations.
The final tally for the 39 HealthCare.gov states showed about 80,000 fewer sign-ups than an initial count provided last week, before the Christmas holiday. A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the slight dip was due to late cancellations.
Still, HealthCare.gov enrollment reached nearly 95 percent of last year’s level, outperforming projections in a show of consumer demand, despite a shortened sign-up season and big cuts in the ad budget.
Ahead of open enrollment, analysts had predicted somewhere around 1-2 million fewer people would sign up for subsidized private coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
But the latest numbers indicate that new customers kept showing up as the Dec. 15 enrollment deadline closed. More than 66,000 new customers were added since the pre-Christmas enrollment report.