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Updates on Travel Ban: People v. Government

July 19, 2017

Updates on Travel Ban

Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

Travel Ban’s news is one of the most popular for the past months. It all started with President Trump issuing an order banning nationals of certain predominantly Muslim countries from coming to the United States, even if they held a US green card (permanent residency). Almost immediately, people reacted and filed Federal lawsuits, and in a blink of an eye the issue reached the U.S. Supreme Court.  Through litigation and the U.S. Supreme court ruling, the travel ban was modified, and finally reached its present version which affects all those who do not have any connections with a person or an entity in the U.S. (let’s say visitors for pleasure).  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769.

The ban currently is in place for nationals of the following countries: Syria (including refugees), Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen.

Now, I am positive that many of you were following the news regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the travel ban which held that those travelers that have real (or bona fide) relationship with a U.S. entity or person should be able to come to the US.  Right after the decision, the Department of State stated that a parent, a sibling, or a parent in law would be allowed in the US, but nephews, grandparents, cousins will not.

People “pushed back,” and very recently, a Federal court in Hawaii held that grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandchildren and cousins should be likewise scratched off the travel ban list.  Because an Executive branch of the government must follow the Judicial branch, the travel ban was again modified, and now  the DOS issued another clarification:

“In light of the July 13, 2017 U.S. District Court of Hawaii ruling regarding the definition of “close familial relationship” as that phrase was used in the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2017 order on implementing Section 2(c) of E.O. 13780, a close familial relationship is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and cousins. For this purpose, “cousins” are limited to first-cousins (i.e., each cousin has a parent who is a sibling of a parent of the other cousin). For all relationships, half or step status is included (e.g., “halfbrother” or “step-sister”). “Close familial relations” does not include any other “extended” family members, such as second-cousins.” See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/news/important-announcement.html.

The Hawaii’s court also allowed refugees who were cleared by the Resettlment agency to come to the US.

The US Supreme Court clarified its decision on July 19, 2017 allowed the Hawaii’s court exemption as it relates to the family members, but blocked the refugees.

The issue is not over yet. The US Supreme Court intends to hear the matter in October if by then, the controversy is still in existence.