Grandparents of U.S. citizens from six countries with high instances of terrorism will be admitted to the country while President Donald Trump’s travel ban is in effect, according to new guidance released by the Department of State.
Reuters obtained an all-embassies cable advising U.S. consular officers to admit grandparents of U.S. citizens from the six countries affected by the ban. The Supreme Court stayed several lower court rulings barring enforcement of the president’s order in late June, but provided an exemption for foreign nationals possessing a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The Department’s June 29 guidance originally advised that intimate family relations like parents, siblings, and children were eligible for an exemption, but that grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were not.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, the same judge who placed the president’s revised travel ban on hold in its entirety in March, found State’s guidance invalid on July 14. He concluded the Supreme Court compelled the government to admit any person with a reasonable familial relative in the United States.
“In sum, the government’s definition of ‘close familial relationship’ is not only not compelled by the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision, but contradicts it,” he wrote. “Equally problematic, the government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense.”
The Department of Justice has since appealed Watson’s order to the Supreme Court.
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