by: Mark Fritz, Benzinga Staff Writer
A federal judge has broadened the definition of a “close relative” in President Donald Trump’s executive order meant to ban people from traveling to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would take up the ban when it reconvenes in October. In the meantime, it allowed parts of the ban to go through. It made an exception for students, people with U.S. jobs and “bona fide” family ties.
The administration subsequently set rules in place that defined family ties so narrowly it prohibited grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii, ruled that the restrictions against those groups cannot be enforced.
Just as significantly, the court threw out a ban on refugees, a part of the Muslim travel ban that had alarmed non-profit refugee resettlement groups. But Watson ruled refugees with assurances from resettlement groups, or with relatives in the United States, were exempt from the ban.
The countries included in the ban, which still prohibits travel from people with no personal or professional ties in the United States, are Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.
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