Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Judge Grants Bid To Narrow Trump Travel Ban

Judge Grants Bid To Narrow Trump Travel Ban

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration's travel ban covering six Muslim majority countries and refugees should exempt grandparents and close family of United States residents.

Citing national security concerns and the vetting process, the Trump administration had set a 50,000 cap for refugees for the 12-month period ending Sep.

"'Bona fide" does not get any more "bona fide' than that", Watson said. He rejected a request to categorically exempt all Iraqis refugee applicants who believe they are at risk due to their work for the USA government since March, 2003, as interpreters and translators, for instance.

Citing a need to review its vetting process to ensure national security, the administration capped refugee admissions at 50,000 for the 12-month period ending September 30, a ceiling it hit this week.

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"Absolutely this is good news for refugees, but there's a lot of uncertainty", said Melanie Nezer, spokeswoman for HIAS, a resettlement agency.

They had been omitted by the department after the Supreme Court partially upheld the Trump administration's travel ban in June. "The Supreme Court has had to correct this lower court once, and we will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the Executive Branch's duty to protect the nation".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Judge Derrick Watson's ruling a severe blow to basic constitutional divisions of power, saying the judge - who'd already been overturned in a previous travel-limits ruling - was trying to substitute his own national-security judgments for those of the president. The conservative-leaning Supreme Court is not now in session, but the justices can handle emergency requests. The two filings overlap, and the appeals court could defer action until it sees what the Supreme Court does.

The justices now are scattered during their summer recess, so any short-term action would come in written filings.

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The Supreme Court's decision last month revived parts of Trump's March 6 executive order banning travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, as well as refugees for 120 days.

He also ruled that potential refugees whose files have been shared with resettlement agencies in the USA are considered to have a "close" relationship and must be admitted, despite the country already having hit the 50,000 cap Mr. Trump imposed on refugees this fiscal year. Initially, it had included only parents, spouses, fiancés, children, adult sons or daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and siblings. He said grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and even cousins all count as "close" family and can not be blocked from entering the U.S. It said the ban could take effect, but people with a "bona fide relationship" to a US person or entity could not be barred.

Consulates and embassies do not need to reopen any visa applications refused under the prior, narrower definition of close family members, the cable said.

Spagat reported from San Diego.

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