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Travel Ban: Victory for Grandparents

No Entry Sign, Blue Barrier Rope, Travel Ban: Victory for Grandparents

HANS NELEMAN/GETTY IMAGES

New ruling allows more ways to prove family ties.

A federal judge has ruled to exempt certain family members from President Trump's travel ban. The order prevents the administration from enforcing the ban against grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, according to NPR.

In June tighter restrictions on travel to the United States from six mostly Muslim nations took effect after the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for a limited version of the president's plan. Visa applicant from the six countries — and all refugees — need to show close family or business ties to the United States.

Until the ruling on July 13, grandparents and other extended family members were not considered to be close relations; only immediate family members qualified. In the new order, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson said, "[T]he Government's definition represents the antithesis of common sense. Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government's definition excludes them. That simply cannot be."

The instructions previously issued by the State Department affect visa applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen. An applicant must prove a relationship with a close family member already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, applies to potential refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval to enter the United States.

Visas that already have been approved will not be revoked, and that should avert the kind of chaos at airports around the world that surrounded an initial travel ban that Trump ordered shortly after taking office. In that case, some travelers with previously approved visas were kept off flights or barred entry upon arrival to the United States.

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