Grandparents and other extended family members are exempt from Trump’s travel ban: Appeals Court

San Francisco-based 9th Circuit gives a unanimous ruling that has narrowed the scope of Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Credit: White House.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Thursday that Trump administration cannot ban extended family members that include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States and certain refugees from entering the country. The rule will take effect in five days; the legality of the travel ban is still under review.

The order is seen as a setback to the infamous travel ban that Trump introduced on March 6. In June, the Supreme Court had ruled that the ban could be implemented excluding the individuals who have “bona fide relationship” with a US person or entity. The president’s executive order to ban six predominantly-Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – was otherwise blocked by lower courts.

The administration, however, narrowed the scope of “bona fide relationship” by arguing that it only includes close family members, which are parents, spouses, siblings, and children. While interpreting Court’s order, White House said that grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins from the above mentioned six countries would remain included in the ban.

Opponents of the travel ban argued that the Supreme Court’s order never excluded extended family member such as grandparents. The proponents, however, maintained that the challengers of the travel ban are interpreting the Supreme Court’s order too broadly.

Judges Michael Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez, the three judges hearing the case, were doubtful on the administration’s arguments.

“The Government does not meaningfully argue how grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of person in the United States can be considered to have “no connection” to or “lack any bona fide relationship” with persons in the United States,” the ruling said. “Denying entry to these foreign nationals would burden persons in the United States “by reason of party’s relationship with the foreign nationals.””

Regarding excluding refugees covered by formal assurances, the ruling said, “Resettlement agencies will face concrete harms and burdens if refugees with formal assurances are not admitted.”

The order said that considering the vulnerability of the refugees during the implementation time, the ruling, which would have otherwise taken 52 days to come into force, will be effective after five days of the filing of the court’s opinion.

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