Washington, June 29: Stepsiblings and half-siblings are allowed, but not nieces or nephews. Sons- and daughters-in-law are in, but brothers- and sisters-in-law are not. Parents, including in-laws, are considered “close family”, but grandparents are not.
The state department issued new guidelines last night to American embassies and consulates on applying a limited travel ban against foreign visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Enforcement of the guidelines will begin at 8pm (Eastern US time) on Thursday.
The guidelines followed the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to allow parts of the Trump administration’s revised travel ban to move forward, while also imposing certain limits, as the court prepares to hear arguments in October on the scope of presidential power over border security and immigration.
The court said the ban could not be imposed on anyone who had “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”.
The meaning of “bona fide relationship” was not precisely explained, and the phrase has created much uncertainty for migrants and others seeking to travel to the US from the six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – covered by the revised travel ban that President Trump issued in March. (An earlier version of the ban included Iraq.)
The court allowed the ban to go ahead but exempted people with “bona fide relationships” in the US.
According to a diplomatic cable obtained by The New York Times, “close family” is “defined as 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”.
But it went on to state that “close family” does not include “grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés and any other ‘extended’ family members”.
It is not clear how the administration arrived at the new definitions.
Under existing law, Americans may petition for immigration visas for “immediate relatives” – defined as the parents, spouses and children (under 21) of US citizens.
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE