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Implementation of Travel/Muslim Ban Permitted to Begin Tonight, as Permitted by US Supreme Court Stay on Injunctions

When the US Supreme court on Monday agreed to hear the administrations challenges to the injunctions from two US District Courts preventing implementation of its travel ban, it also granted a partial stay against these injunctions.

As worded by the Supreme Court, this meant that the administration could begin implementing the ban except as it applied to anyone with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” and could do so 72 hours after Monday’s Supreme Court pronouncement. The administration plans to begin implementation at 8:00pm this evening.

This “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” wording, being somewhat vague, leaves some room for interpretation. The US Department of State has distributed guidance on implementation of this language, distributed to US consular posts Wednesday.

The guidance specifically state what familial relationships are and are not considered sufficient to meet the test: parents, spouses, children, adult sons or daughters, sons- and daughters-in-law, and siblings (including step-siblings and other step-family relationship) are deemed sufficiently close relations to allow entry while Grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés of people in the United States will NOT be considered sufficiently close. For refugees who already have established links with refugee resettlement agencies, this will NOT be considered sufficient to gain admission to the US – contrary to what many (including most refugee resettlement agencies) had thought.

Additional court challenges to the interpretation contained in the guidance document are likely.