Ilhan Omar spars with officials from the State Department about travel ban claims

in the vicinityVideoRep. Ilhan Omar grills a witness during a House hearing on Trump the Muslim prohibition

House Democrats sought to poke holes in the Trump administration, the so-called travel ban Tuesday during a hearing on Capitol Hill, claiming that a waiver process for the opportunity to get people from restricted countries Visa is nothing more than a “sham.”

While an official from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs insisted there is nothing wrong with the waiver process, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., against the assertion by the increase in allegations from former officials.


“A former consular officer, Christopher Richards, who resigned, as a protest against the Muslim ban, said in an op-ed that the Consul were “Aryan” officials in the position to issue waivers on their own, that they said has yet to be approved by the State Department,” Omar Edward Ramotowski, deputy assistant secretary for visa services. “You would be? They give that approval?”

“No, that is not correct,” Ramotowski answered. “Consular officers, the decision of the first two prongs of the waiver, the national interest, and undue hardship, and then inter-Agency review of the safety provides the leadership on the safety prong.”

Omar then asked if the White house plays a role in the decision-making process.

“Not at all” Ramotowski said.

Omar brought Sarah Gartner, a former officer who resigned in protest over the ban and told CNN that officials “felt approve the pressure, as few people as possible” for a waiver.

“And how do you react, Mrs. Gartner’s claim that the officers are, implicitly or explicitly, under pressure, to deny the waiver?” Omar asked.

“We are not, implicitly or explicitly, under pressure, to act on someone in any way is against the law,” he said.

The travel ban, which has over a number of iterations, the currently restrictions on travel to the United States to people from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and North Korea, as well as officials from Venezuela. It faced a series of legal challenges, the Supreme Court in compliance with the latest version of the article in the June 2018-decision. Iraq, Chad and the Sudan had been on restricted lists, but were removed. Critics called the policy a “Muslim ban.”

During the Tuesday hears, Omar also pointed to a dissent memo signed by more than 100 diplomats in June 2017 – in front of the latest version of the order was signed– that rails against the order.

Ramotowski recognized that the political opponent, but claims that “in principle, it is designed to try to make the United States safe.”


Omar was not the only one to put the more, the allegations that the waiver process is less satisfactory. Sub-Committee Chairman, Rep Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said it “seems to be something of a sham,” and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, described the waiver process as a “phony.”

Early in the hearing, Lofgren implies that it is resolved is no way for people to apply for a waiver, but Ramotowski, that it is an automatic process and that the consular officer will consider exemptions, you with any visa application.

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