Grandparents, cousins don’t count as ‘bona fide’ relationships under new travel ban

President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which was mandated by executive order, will partially go into effect this evening at 8:00 p.m. ET, the State Department announced on Thursday.

People seeking visas to travel to the United States from six restricted countries will have to prove a “bona fide relationship” to someone in the U.S., the Supreme Court wrote on Monday, when it allowed parts of the travel ban to go into effect.

A family relationship, according to the administration, is with a parent, a spouse, a child, an adult son or daughter, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law or a sibling.

Asked why a grandparent who raised a grandchild doesn’t qualify, a senior administration official said, “We’ll look to see if the applicant qualifies under the exemptions. If they want to articulate why we should waive them, we’ll look at those case by case, but it won’t be the relationship that will be the determining factor.”

Under the executive order, there is a 120-day suspension of all refugees, as well as a 50,000 cap for fiscal year 2017, but refugees proving one of these relationships will be exempt.

As of Wednesday night, 49,009 refugees have been admitted for the year.

Individuals from the six affected countries may also qualify for a visa if they have an established connection to various entities in the U.S. — for example, students admitted to a university or visiting lecturers.

Individual consular officers, who review visa applications and grant visas overseas, will determine whether an applicant meets the new criteria.

The State Department said that it does not plan to cancel previously scheduled visa appointments but that applicants with interviews after 8 p.m. ET Thursday will need to meet the new requirements.

People who have visas and show up at airports or border checkpoints will be admitted, unless there is an unrelated reason they shouldn’t be allowed entry, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“We expect business as usual at ports of entry starting at 8:00 p.m. tonight,” said a senior administration official.

The executive order, which was signed by Trump in March, had been blocked by lower courts. The Supreme Court‘s ruling allows the administration to temporarily bar entry into the U.S. of citizens of six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — with exceptions, the justices wrote, for people who have “any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”


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