Trump expedites visas for family of Syrian in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Trump administration is expediting a Syrian man's applications to bring his wife and daughter to Wisconsin.

The Syrian man, who was granted asylum last year and is living in Wisconsin, sued over President Donald Trump's travel ban in February. U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order earlier this month prohibiting the administration from enforcing the revised version of the ban specifically against the man's family.

A top immigration official filed a declaration on Friday ordering U.S. officials in Jordan, where the wife and daughter would travel for visa interviews, to process their applications by March 28. Roman Ginzburg, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer, further ordered that the office schedule interviews for no later than April 20 if the applications are in order.

The filing didn't explain why the applications were being fast-tracked, but an earlier filing noted that U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin requested it.

The Justice Department lawyer assigned to the case didn't immediately reply to a message seeking further information.

Vincent Levy, the man's lawyer, said he learned Monday that the wife and daughter's interviews are currently scheduled for April 20.

"If all goes well, they'll be reunited with our client in the next month or two," Levy said. The two could begin traveling from Aleppo to the Syrian border within the next week, he said, noting that they must leave well in advance of their interviews as they have to travel through Lebanon to get to Jordan.

Also late last week, the Trump administration and Levy agreed to postpone a hearing on the temporary restraining order to sometime after April 10. This means the order will remain in place until then. It also gives the Trump administration time to focus on other cases challenging the ban — including those in Hawaii and Maryland, which are currently blocking significant portions of the order — and leaves open the possibility of using other rulings in their arguments.

Before the hearing was postponed, the administration argued in a filing last week that the temporary restraining order is unnecessary given that the travel ban is blocked and the man can't prove his applications were impacted.

The man filed the case without using his real name to protect the safety of his wife and daughter, who are living in hiding.

A spokesman for Baldwin said in a statement Monday that the senator's office has been happy to help with the man's case.

"It's good news that they are moving closer to being reunited and we are hopeful that things will continue moving forward," the statement said.

USCIS did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment Monday.


Follow Cara Lombardo on Twitter at

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