List of Exempted Relatives from Travel Ban Expanded

A federal judge in Hawaii has expanded the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to gain entry into the United States.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

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

Watson argued the government can't exclude refugees who have formal assurance and promise of placement services from a resettlement agency.

The Supreme Court has already allowed a scaled back version of the ban to be in effect before they formally hear the case in October; exempting visa applicants from the ban if they can prove they have a "bona fide" relationship with a U.S. citizen.

The administration defined "bona fide" as those who had a parent, spouse, fiance, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already living in the U.S.

The Supreme Court also ruled that people who accepted jobs from American companies, students enrolled at a U.S. university or lecturers invited to address a U.S. audience would also be exempt from the ban.

The case landed on Watson's desk when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled he has the authority to interpret the order and block any violation of it.

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