Judge Further Weakens Trump’s Diluted Travel Ban

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In another setback for President Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii further weakened his already diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the U.S., the Associated Press reports. The ruling is the latest pushback in the fierce battle set off by Trump’s first attempted ban in January. It will culminate with arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in October. The current rules aren’t so much an outright ban, as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen. People from those places who already have visas will be allowed into the U.S. Only narrow categories of people, including those with relatives named in yesterday’s ruling, will be considered for new visas.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States. “Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson said. “Indeed grandparents are the epitome of close family members.” Watson also ruled that the government may not exclude refugees who have formal assurance and promise of placement services from a resettlement agency in the U.S. The Supreme Court, which last month allowed a scaled-back version of the ban to go into effect before it hears the case in October, exempted visa applicants from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide” relationship with a U.S. citizen or entity. The Trump administration defined “bona fide” relationship as those who had a parent, spouse, fiance, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.

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