US State Department: grandparents exempt from President Donald Trump travel ban

July 18, 2017 10:30 pm

An Iraqi family from Woodbridge, Virginia, welcomes their grandmother at Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia, on February 5, 2017. (File photo)

The State Department has issued new instructions allowing the grandparents of citizens who were previously included in President ’s travel ban to be granted American visas.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a memo to all American diplomatic posts overseas on Friday, according to a Tuesday report by Reuters, which obtained the memo.
The development came after a district judge in Hawaii issued a ruling late on Thursday which narrowed the scope of the administration’s temporary ban on refugees and travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries.
The current memo has updated the definition of “close family” members who are exempt from the temporary travel ban laid down in Trump’s March 6 executive order.
The State Department’s previous definition of close family has reversed to “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and cousins.”
Derrick Watson, the Hawaii judge, had ruled that the federal government’s list of family relatives eligible to bypass the travel ban should be expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and other relatives, as well as refugees without family ties to the country.
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson wrote then. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
The order by the Hawaii judge delivered another legal hit to the president’s travel ban. Watson was one of the several federal judges who granted a restraining order blocking implementation of the travel restrictions.
The administration asked the Supreme Court and the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to block the decision.
Trump issued a revised travel ban on March 6 after his initial directive signed in January was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, and upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, California.
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