A federal appeals court has ruled that President Donald Trump's order restricting travel to the U.S. from several countries may take effect in part.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that people who have no bona fide relationships to people or institutions in the U.S. may be barred from visiting.
A three-judge panel said that the government could implement the restriction, except on "foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The judges said such people include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States. Entity relationships "must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading."
While the judges did not explain their ruling, they cited the July Supreme Court decision that first allowed visitors with bona fide relationships.
The ruling temporarily overturns the Hawaii lower court decision that blocked the travel order entirely. The three-judge appeals court panel is slated to hear arguments on the lower court's ruling next month.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, who had sued over the ban on behalf of his state, said in a statement: Today's decision "closely tracks guidance previously issued by the Supreme Court. I'm pleased that family ties to the U. S., including grandparents, will be respected."
The travel order would have barred various travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. It was the Trump administration's third version of an order restricting travel and was prevented from taking effect last month by two lower courts, the one in Hawaii and one in Maryland.
The Maryland lower court ruling was narrower than the Hawaii one, excluding Venezuela and North Korea, and limiting travel restrictions on travelers from the other six countries to those without bona fide relationships. It was appealed by the federal government, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is due to hear arguments in that case on December 8. The arguments will be heard en banc, before all of the appeals court's 15 judges but two.