ND043 – US travel ban appeals court reopens door to thousands of refugees
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US travel ban appeals court reopens door to thousands of refugees

Court finds administration's view too limited

A United States federal appeals court rejected the administration’s declaration of who is allowed into the country under the travel ban. The court says grandparents, cousins and other close relatives of people in the United States should not be prevented from traveling to the country.

Appeals court sees administration’s view as limited

Refugees accepted by a resettlement agency should not be banned either, three judges on the 9th US circuit court of appeals unanimously ruled. The decision is in line with a ruling made by another federal judge in Hawaii who found the administration’s view too limited. The court noted that nearly 24,000 refugees were affected by the ban.

“Stated simply, the government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not,” the ruling said.

In June, the administration issued guidelines for visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It insisted that visa applicants from these countries must prove to have a relationship with a spouse, fiancée, parent, child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the United States in order to be allowed into the country.

The case was argued in Seattle last week by Lawyers for the government and lawyers for the State of Hawaii which opposed the travel ban. Deputy assistant attorney general Hashim Mooppan defended the government in the case. However, he faced tough questions, with Judge Ronald Gould asking him from "what universe" the administration took its position that grandparents didn’t constitute a close family relationship. Judge Richard Paez also wondered why an in-law would be allowed in, but a grandparent wouldn't. “Could you explain to me what is significantly different between a grandparent, a mother-in-law and a father-in-law?” Paez asked. "What is so different about those two categories? One is in, and one is out." The administration had to draw the line somewhere, Mooppan claimed.

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