The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to review President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, and although oral arguments will be held in October, the justices ruled that Trump has the authority to implement his policy — with some limitations — in the meantime. The measure will take effect today at 8 P.M. Eastern time.
Trump administration officials have sought to suspend admission of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, to cap the number of refugees in fiscal year 2017 at 50,000, and to refuse permission for anyone to enter the U.S. from the six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — all deemed “countries of concern” in the fight against terrorism.
While some aspects of the executive order will not be implemented until a further court ruling is issued, the Trump administration has hailed the partial implementation of the ban as a victory. Nevertheless, the administration remains unable to bar anyone from the terror-ridden countries who has “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The court did not define “bona fide relationship,” thereby affording the State Department an opportunity to decide how narrowly or broadly it would be interpreted.
According to the New York Times, which obtained a State Department diplomatic cable sent to American consulates and embassies Wednesday evening, the State Department has now explicitly defined a “bona fide relationship,” or “close family”: “a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half,” the cable stated. “This includes step relationships.”
State Department officials also outlined familial relationships that are not exempt under the travel ban, including “grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés and any other ‘extended’ family members.”
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in October, the Trump administration got what it wanted: fewer travelers from terror-ridden countries while the U.S. augments its vetting process.