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Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News, Feb. 18, 2021
"A lawyer urged a federal judge Thursday not to postpone ruling on a request to block a Trump-era immigrant visa ban based on the government’s promise that President Joe Biden’s administration is actively reviewing the policy. “We simply cannot keep waiting for the administration to actively review,” attorney Abadir Barre argued in a virtual court hearing Thursday. “We don’t know what that means. We’ve heard it too often.” Barre represents 2,200 visa applicants challenging former President Donald Trump’s April 2020 proclamation that banned most immigrants from entering the U.S. based on the premise that they would take jobs away from Americans during economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The 60-day ban was extended through the end of 2020 and later continued through March 31 this year. Barre’s clients seek a preliminary injunction to strike down State Department policies that suspended the processing and issuing of most visa applications, including family-based and diversity visa applications. They also request immediate adjudication of more than 2,000 named plaintiffs’ applications and a plan to remedy a backlog of 473,000 visa applications. During a virtual hearing Thursday, a Justice Department lawyer asked U.S. District Judge Edward Chen to postpone ruling on those requests until the Biden administration completes its review of the visa ban. A decision is expected by the end of this month, she said. ... Judge Chen agreed to hold off issuing a ruling, but he asked both sides to present their arguments in case the Biden administration decides to continue or extend the policy. ... After about 90 minutes of debate, Chen took the arguments under submission and scheduled a status conference for March 4 to get an update on the Biden administration’s review of the visa ban."