Muslim Ban: State dept expands 'close family' criteria

Visa criteria to include grandparents and other relatives for applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations.

    The State Department's move comes n response to a Hawaii federal judge's order last week[File: Alba Vigaray/EPA]
    The State Department's move comes n response to a Hawaii federal judge's order last week[File: Alba Vigaray/EPA]

    The US Department of State on Monday expanded its definition of "close family" to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a "bona fide" US relationship for visa applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations.

    In response to a Hawaii federal judge's order last week, the department instructed US diplomats to consider grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces and first cousins to meet the criteria for applicants from the six countries to receive a visa to the United States.

    They had been omitted by the department after the supreme court partially upheld the Trump administration's travel ban in June.

    OPINION: The Muslim ban - Did Trump really win?

    Initially, it had included only parents, spouses, fiances, children, adult sons or daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and siblings. Monday's instructions change that.

    US supreme court agrees to hear Trump Muslim ban case later

    "The ruling is effective immediately and we have issued instructions to our embassies and consulates to use the expanded definition when adjudicating visa cases," the department said. Under the rules, applicants from the six countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen - have to prove a bona fide relationship with a person or entity, including a "close familial relationship" in the US to be exempt from the ban.

    US District Judge Derrick Watson had ruled on Thursday that excluding grandparents and others defied common sense.

    "Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," he wrote. "Indeed grandparents are the epitome of close family members."

    The Trump administration has appealed the Hawaii order to the supreme court saying that Watson's interpretation of the supreme court's ruling on what family relationships qualify refugees and visitors from the six Muslim-majority countries to enter the US "empties the court's decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just 'close' family members, but virtually all family members. Treating all of these relationships as 'close familial relationship(s)' reads the term 'close' out of the Court's decision."

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.