Third Trump travel ban takes effect

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

The newest version of U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban took effect late Thursday. It bars entry to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Syria, and all refugees irrespective of country of origin are barred for 120 days. Iraq is no longer included. Border officials have been instructed to honor existing visas, but in general no new ones are to be issued. Although some lawyers showed up to volunteer their services, U.S. airports continued to operate smoothly, without the huge scale of protests that marked the first attempt to enforce the travel ban.

A United States Supreme Court ruling handed down Monday said the ban was legal so long as it made an exemption for anyone with "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity" already in the country. The Trump administration is counting parents, in-laws, children and step-versions of these as bona fide relationships and, at the last moment, added fiancés, but discounted grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. The attorney general of Hawaii has challenged the administration's definition of close family as too strict.

"The banning of grandmothers — of unaccompanied children — from America's shores is a disgrace," said David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee.

Under the current ruling, people with businesses or in ongoing educational programs are also allowed to enter or re-enter the country, and permanent residents of the United States are exempted. Although lower courts declared the travel ban tantamount to religious discrimination targeting Muslim-majority countries, the Supreme Court disregarded both those concerns and President Donald Trump's tweets about his plans to bar Muslims from entering the United States. They declared instead the President has "a compelling need to provide for the nation's security" that includes the right to control immigration. The Supreme Court is to give the travel ban more in-depth consideration when it reconvenes this coming October.

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