A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously on Thursday that the Trump administration’s travel ban was not allowed to deny grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family members an exemption to come into the United States.
The panel upheld a district court judge’s initial injunction, ruling that President Trump’s executive order on travel had a far too narrow view of exceptions to the rules that the Supreme Court made back in June.
The Supreme Court said back in June that the Trump administration could ban foreign nationals, but not anyone 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 stated.
“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 up the possibility for a greater flow of refugees by agreeing with a lower court order that ruled that refugees already assigned to resettlement agencies can come into the U.S. regardless of Trump’s executive order on travel.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who stopped Trump’s original travel ban in March, further weakened the watered-down revised version in July by saying the government could not ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-laws, sisters-in-laws, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins of individuals living in the U.S.
Watson’s ruling that was upheld on Thursday.
The travel ban blocks many travelers from six mostly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days. The countries affected are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria.
The administration originally changed course over what was a close family member in June, allowing fiancés to be a part of the definition.