The Trump administration’s new guidelines on enforcing the president’s travel ban state that people from six majority Muslim countries with “close family” in the United States will still be eligible to get U.S. visas, but that “close family” definition doesn’t include grandparents, aunts or uncles.
The administration issued the new guidelines, obtained by POLITICO, after the Supreme Court earlier this week allowed it to partially enforce President Donald Trump’s executive order barring visitors from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. The court plans to rule on the overall legality of the order in its coming term.
The court, however, exempted from the visa ban foreign nationals from those six nations who had a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." In the 72 hours since the court’s decision, various U.S. agencies been trying to define what counts as a “bona fide" relationship. People with business ties to the United States are also exempt.
In a cable sent Thursday to State Department consular officials across the world, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote that visitors from the six countries are still eligible to be considered for U.S. visas if they have “a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. ‘Close family’ does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members.”
The guidelines, which the Associated Press first obtained, are effective as of Thursday.
The president’s March executive order aimed to bar entry by people from the six countries for 90 days. It also barred the admission of refugees for 120 days. Critics called it a discriminatory “Muslim ban." Trump said it was a necessary step to guard against terrorism. Due to the Supreme Court’s decision this week, many refugees are still likely to be let into the United States for now because they have familial or other ties.