Appeals court allows Trump’s travel ban to go partially into effect

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Thanks to an appeals court ruling in California on Monday, President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban is now permitted to go partially into effect, which means that the government can stop allowing entrance to people from six countries identified as sponsors of terrorism.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially granted the Trump administration’s request to block — at least temporarily — a judge’s ruling that had put the new ban on hold. Trump’s ban was announced on Sep. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.

People seeking to enter the United States from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who do not have connections to the United States will not be permitted in the country.

Those connections are defined as family relationships and “formal, documented” relationships with U.S.-based entities, such as universities and resettlement agencies. Family members that would be allowed entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of people in the United States.

“We are reviewing the court’s order and the government will begin enforcing the travel proclamation consistent with the partial stay. We believe that the proclamation should be allowed to take effect in its entirety,” Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said.

The state of Hawaii, which sued to block the restrictions, argued that federal immigration law did not give Trump the authority to impose them on six of those countries. The lawsuit did not challenge restrictions toward people from the two other countries listed in Trump’s ban, North Korea and Venezuela.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu ruled last month that Hawaii was likely to succeed with its argument, according to a Reuters report.

“I‘m pleased that family ties to the U.S., including grandparents, will be respected,” said Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin.

In another development, a group of refugee organizations and individuals filed a lawsuit in Seattle federal court on Monday, challenging Trump’s decision to suspend the entry of refugees from 11 countries for at least 90 days.

Trump issued his first travel ban in January, just a week after he took office, targeting several countries because of their ties to terrorism. He was then forced to issue a revised order after the first was blocked by the courts. The second one expired in September, after a long court fight, and was replaced with another revised version.

Critics of the travel ban in its various iterations call it a “Muslim ban” that supposedly violates the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates on the basis of religion. However, Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from terrorism perpetrated by Islamic militants.

The 9th Circuit is due to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 6. In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect.

An appeal in the Maryland case is being heard on Dec. 8 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project.

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