The United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for an extensive list of family exceptions to President Trump’s ban on issuing visas to people in six Muslim-majority countries.
The justices declined to put a stop to a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who said grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and siblings-in-law must be added to the list of close family members who can still get visas to travel to the U.S. during the 90 days while Trump’s executive order is in force.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that while portions of the travel ban could be enforced, people overseas “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with a relative or organization in the U.S. would be exempt.
The executive order applies to visa applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and imposes a 120-day ban on refugees from anywhere in the world.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii said the administration’s “narrowly defined list” wasn’t supported by law.
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson wrote. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
The Supreme Court says that the Trump administration can enforce the ban on refugees, but left in place a weakened travel ban that says that grandparents can enter the country, according to ABC News.
The justices have now acted on today in response to the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling last week. US District Judge Derrick Watson said that the government should allow refugees working with the US resettlement agency.
“This ruling jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence,” said Naureen Shah of Amnesty International.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said that the Supreme Court has officially confirmed that “we were right to say that the Trump administration over-reached in trying to unilaterally keep families apart from each other.”
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