Hawaii questions Trump interpretation of standard for granting visas as border officials instructed to respect visas for citizens from countries in question
The United States implemented a modified version of Donald Trumps travel ban Thursday evening on some people from six Muslim-majority countries and certain refugees, citing security concerns that federal courts have declared to be unfounded.
Travel through major US airports appeared to be proceeding as usual, with border officials under orders to respect previously issued visas for citizens from the countries in question: Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya.
The airport scenes contrasted sharply with the protests and security chaos that greeted the Donald Trump administrations first travel ban in January, which drew impassioned demonstrators and led to the sudden detention and expulsion of travelers with valid visas.
Just before the latest travel ban took effect at 8pm ET, it came under court challenge, with the state of Hawaii questioning the Trump administrations interpretation of a standard for granting visas described by the supreme court in a ruling Monday allowing the ban.
Travelers with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States could be exempt from the ban, the high court ruled.
The Trump administration interpreted bona fide relationship to include parents, children, in-laws and step-relations but to exclude grandparents, nephews, nieces, cousins and others.
There appeared to be some indecision within the Trump administration about what the phrase signified. Fiances were originally placed in the excluded group, only to be declared by the state department late Thursday to qualify as partaking in a bona fide relationship.
David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, called the situation alarming, confusing and inhumane.
The banning of grandmothers of unaccompanied children from Americas shores is a disgrace, Miliband said. Doubly so when America is a breaking a promise we have made to safeguard them.
State department employees were to practice discretion in assessing whether family bonds described by visa applicants were bona fide, according to a senior state department official in a conference call with reporters. Homeland security officials would practice another layer of discretion at points of entry.