SCOTUS allows extended family under travel ban exemption

U.S. Supreme Court keeps exemption for extended family members in place under Trump's travel ban.

Ben Ariel ,

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the government's request for clarification on who is allowed into the country after the court reinstated part of President Donald Trump's travel ban last month, keeping an exemption for extended family members in place.

The court, however, temporarily blocked the part of the Hawaii district court order that extended the exemption to refugees who have assurance from a U.S.-based refugee resettlement agency for placement in the U.S., reported The Hill.

The court said that part of the order is on hold until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the district court order clarifying who is exempt from the travel ban.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the government could ban entry of nationals from six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — but carved out an exemption for individuals who have a “bona fide relationship” to a person or entity in the U.S.

The Hawaii District Court then clarified the court’s meaning of a “bona fide relationship.” The court said the government could not enforce its ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins of individuals living in the U.S.

The court also said the government could not ban refugees with a formal assurance from a U.S.-based refugee resettlement agency that the agency will provide, or ensure the arrangement of, reception and placement services to that refugee. That is the part of the ruling the Supreme Court knocked down on Wednesday, noted The Hill.

The Supreme Court’s decision to block the exemption for refugees is a partial win for the administration. The Department of Justice argued in its appeal to the 9th Circuit that a government-arranged assurance agreement between a refugee and a resettlement agency does not by itself establish a “bona fide relationship.”

The travel ban in question is an updated order issued by President Donald Trump after his initial order was dismissed by the court. The order is temporary, until proper vetting procedures – a central campaign promise of Trump’s – can be implemented.