Federal appeals court narrows scope of Trump’s travel ban

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the United States under the president’s travel ban, saying grandparents, cousins and similarly close relations of people in the U.S. should not be prevented from coming to the country.

The unanimous ruling from three judges on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also cleared the way for refugees accepted by a resettlement agency to travel here. The decision upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who found the administration’s view too strict.

“Stated simply, the government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not,” the 9th Circuit said.

The appeals panel wrote that under typical court rules, its ruling would not take effect for at least 52 days. But in this instance, the judges said, many refugees would be “gravely imperiled” by such a delay, so the decision will take effect in five days.

“Refugees’ lives remain in vulnerable limbo during the pendency of the Supreme Court’s stay,” they wrote. “Refugees have only a narrow window of time to complete their travel, as certain security and medical checks expire and must then be reinitiated.”

The Justice Department said it would appeal.

“The Supreme Court has stepped in to correct these lower courts before, and we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the executive branch’s duty to protect the nation,” the agency said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that President Donald Trump’s 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced pending arguments scheduled for October, partially overturning lower-court rulings. But the justices said it should not apply to visitors who have a “bona fide relationship” with people or organizations in the U.S., such as close family ties or a job offer.

That set the stage for much disagreement over what constitutes a bona fide relationship.

The government interpreted such family relations to include immediate family members and in-laws, but not grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. The judge in Hawaii overruled that interpretation, expanding the definition of who can enter the country to the other categories of relatives.

He also overruled the government’s assertion that refugees from those…

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