The U.S. State Department, in a reversal, said on July 17 it would provide visas to grandparents, grandchildren, and other relatives of U.S. citizens who it previously barred from six predominantly Muslim countries.
In response to a U.S. District Court ruling last week against the restrictions the department had previously placed on such family members, the department instructed U.S. diplomats posted overseas to allow visitors from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan if they have American grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, or first cousins.
The department previously had exempted from its travel ban only people with American parents, spouses, fiances, children, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and siblings.
But the state of Hawaii successfully challenged those restrictions, saying they weren't in keeping with the Supreme Court's ruling that people with "bona fide" family members should be allowed to visit.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu agreed with Hawaii, saying on July 13 that excluding grandparents and others defied common sense.
Watson declined to put his ruling on hold pending appeal, meaning it went into effect immediately. The administration had asked the Supreme Court to block the decision.
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