Trump travel ban: Judge expands definition of relatives

A US judge has ruled that grandparents and other relatives of living in the US should be free to enter the country, delivering a fresh blow to Donald Trump’s so-called “travel ban”.

“Common sense… dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members,” District Judge Derrick Watson said.

The ruling also opens the border for grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of US residents from six mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Trump’s initial travel ban was upheld by the US Supreme Court, but the court said that residents of the six countries who had a bona fide relationship with a US person or entity should be exempt.

The White House defined qualifying family member as spouses, parents, children, siblings and fiances. Watson said this was an “unduly restrictive reading” of what constituted a close family relationship, the Washington Post reports.

Under the new ruling, refugees with proof of placement in the US will also be able to enter the country. Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, said this would affect an estimated 24,000 people, reports Al Jazeera.

“We are thrilled that thousands of people will be reunited with their family members,” she said.


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