Since the State Department’s issuance June 28 of a cable interpreting the June 26 order from the U.S. Supreme Court allowing parts of the “travel ban” to proceed (especially, the partial implementation of Sections 2 and 6 of Executive Order 13780), there have been several important updates.
On June 29, the administration held a press briefing about the order’s implementation and published a summary of the call on the State Department website. Also on June 29, the Department of Homeland Security issued Frequently Asked Questions. Contrary to the State Department cable description of “close family” relationships, which had excluded fiancé(e)s, the DHS FAQ described a “close family” as including fiancé(e)s.
On the eve of the implementation of the new guidance, DOS changed its website to broaden its definition of “close family” relationship to include fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens. However, “close family” continued to exclude grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and any other “extended” family members.
Also on June 29, the state of Hawaii filed an “Emergency Motion to Clarify the Scope of Preliminary Injunction” with the U.S. District Court challenging the Trump administration guidance as too narrow in its view of what “close family” relationships qualify to exempt nationals of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen and refugees from the travel ban. The motion argues that the narrow view of a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States would deny admission to refugees who should be exempt from the ban due to their connections to a U.S. resettlement agency. Indeed, CLINIC’s own analysis of the Supreme Court’s order contemplated a refugee’s relationship to a U.S. resettlement agency as a bona fide relationship with an entity. Perhaps in response to this litigation, the DHS changed its online FAQs, which had initially said that refugees would not be able to show the requisite “bona fide relationship” through their relationship with a resettlement agency in the United States, deleting that portion of the FAQs.
CLINIC will continue to provide updates on government guidance, litigation developments, and the effects of the partial “travel ban” on families and refugees.
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