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9th Circuit appears ready to define relationships for travel ban

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2017 | Family Immigration

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just been hearing oral arguments regarding the scope and applicability of President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim nations. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ban could not be applied to anyone with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The administration interpreted that to mean that spouses, fiancés/fiancées, parents, children, siblings, and in-laws could come to the U.S. However, it left grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins out, claiming the Supreme Court had not intended these relatives to be allowed in.

It also made a sweeping decision that the ban still excludes virtually all refugees, even those with agreements with a U.S.-based resettlement agency.

By the end of oral arguments on Monday, it appeared clear that the Ninth Circuit panel would expand the types of family members considered “bona fide.” It was not as clear what would happen to the refugees, according to the New York Times.

“How can the government take the position that a grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncles of a child in the United States does not have a close familial relationship?” asked one of the judges.

Ban found unconstitutional by two courts; Supreme Court to consider case in October

The travel ban was originally issued in January and then revised in March. Then, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found it unconstitutionally discriminatory. Next, the Ninth Circuit determined it was unlawful because it exceeded the president’s authority and lacked adequate justification.

In July, the Supreme Court issued the provisional ruling that restricted the ban to those without credible claims of bona fide relationships. It will only remain in force until the Ninth Circuit defines those terms. The high court will hear the case fully beginning Oct. 10, but it will probably be some time after that hearing before a ruling is issued.