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

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.