Broadening family exceptions of Pres. Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’

Top court rules against Trump’s request to expand the controversial travel policy

The United States Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of a lower court opinion that temporarily banned extended family members of American citizens from six Muslim-majority nations.

The highest court in the U.S. on Wednesday, July 19 voted to allow a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who argued that grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and siblings-in-law should be added to the list of close family members who can get visas to travel to the U.S.

The ruling is a loss for the Trump administration, which has looked to expand the scope of the travel ban, an executive order on immigration first introduced on January 31. The mission of the ban was to provide a temporary halt in immigration from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

However, Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision did block requests from the Hawaii court that included refugees; the Hawaii court argued that refugees that made arrangements with a humanitarian aid organization in the U.S. should be exempt from the ban.

This means that, unless the appeals court rules otherwise, the nearly 24,000 refugees who have already been assigned to a resettlement program in the U.S. will not be admitted.

The travel ban — colloquially called the “Muslim ban” — represents the strict immigration reform promised by President Donald Trump, who affirms the temporary ban is for national security purposes.

Since its introduction in January, several courts have ruled that many stipulations of the ban violated the Constitution, including providing preferential treatment of religions.

Lower courts have blocked certain aspects of the ban.

On June 26, a Hawaii declared that the list of exempted individuals was too restrictive in its allowance of only parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiances, children, and children-in-law. He ruled that people “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with a relative or organization in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban.

The Supreme Court ruled that that should be up to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to make the decision.

The scaled-down version of the travel ban was put into effect last month following the June 26 ruling by the Supreme Court. As of press time, travel to the U.S. is banned from the six nations for 90 days, and the refugee program is temporarily suspended for 120 days.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the legality of the ban as a whole in the fall, but travelers may bypass the ban if they can prove that claim of an established “bona fide relationship” with a relative or organization. (Klarize Medenilla/AJ Press)

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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