Syrian man who sued over travel bans brings family to US

MADISON — An attorney for a Syrian man living in Wisconsin who sued over President Donald Trump’s travel bans said Friday that the man has been reunited with his wife and young daughter after three years.

Attorney Vincent Levy told The Associated Press that his client’s wife and daughter obtained their visas and traveled out of Syria to Jordan and then to the United States. They arrived in Wisconsin Wednesday evening.

“In the face of two executive orders that sought to prevent innocent refugees and asylum seekers from seeking safety in the United States, the reunion … is a victory, not just for our client and his wife and young daughter, but for the rule of law as well,” Levy said.

Both Pres. Trump’s initial ban and a subsequent replacement have been largely blocked by federal courts.

The man alleged in a February lawsuit that Pres. Trump’s first travel ban halted his efforts to bring his wife and daughter to safety. A judge granted his request to file the lawsuit anonymously on the grounds that militants had targeted his family in Aleppo after he fled to the U.S. in 2014. According to the lawsuit, the man had been imprisoned and tortured by members of President Bashar al-Assad’s military regime, then targeted and placed on a “kill list” of a militant group fighting against Assad.

The man withdrew his lawsuit Friday, but Levy declined to identify the family, citing continuing safety and privacy concerns.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment Friday.

Pres. Trump’s initial executive order banned travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Syria, from entering the United States. Dozens of lawsuits challenged its constitutionality, prompting him to issue a revised order in March that was more explicit about whom it covered. The revised ban remains largely blocked by courts.

The U.S. Department of Justice attorneys argued that neither ban delayed processing visa applications for the man’s wife and daughter based on his status as an asylum seeker. But a federal judge blocked the administration from enforcing any ban against the family.

In March, a top immigration official ordered U.S. officials abroad to process the wife’s and daughter’s applications by March 28, and schedule interviews no later than April 20 if applications were in order. An earlier filing had noted that U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin requested the fast-track.