Federal court rejects part of Trump travel ban on extended family

Federal court rejects part of Trump travel ban on extended family
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A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that the Trump administration's travel ban could not deny grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members an exemption to travel into the United States. 

The panel upheld a district court judge's preliminary injunction, ruling that President Trump's executive order on travel had too narrow a view of exceptions to rules the Supreme Court made back in June.

The Supreme Court said in June that the Trump administration could enforce the ban against foreign nationals, but not those with a “bona fide” relationship or entity in the U.S.

"We affirm the district court’s order modifying the preliminary injunction," the three-judge panel's ruling read.

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"As the district court correctly identified, a refugee is covered by the preliminary injunction, as modified by the Supreme Court’s stay order, if the refugee has a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States, meaning a relationship that is formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course rather than to evade the Executive Order," the ruling continues.

The appeals court panel also opened the gates for a greater flow of refugees by agreeing with a lower court order that said refugees already assigned to resettlement agencies can enter the U.S. regardless of Trump's executive order on travel.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who blocked Trump's original travel ban in March, weakened the already watered-down revised version in July saying the government could not enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-laws, sisters-in-laws, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins of individuals living in the U.S.

It was Watson's ruling that was upheld on Thursday.

The travel ban blocks many travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The countries affected are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The administration originally reversed course over what it considered a close family member in June, allowing fiancés to be included in the definition.

Updated 7:20 p.m.