President Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to welcome new citizens

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The Trump administration is once again changing its policy on who can and can't come to the USA under its blanket ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The State Department on Monday expanded its definition of "close family" to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a bona fide USA relationship for visa applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations. The Trump administration interpreted that exemption as applying only to immediate family members such as a parent, spouse, fiancé, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling. He rejected a request to categorically exempt all Iraqis refugee applicants who believe they are at risk due to their work for the US government since March, 2003, as interpreters and translators, for instance.

In allowing the order to take effect, the Supreme Court said that the restrictions could not be applied to people with "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States.

Consulates and embassies do not need to reopen any visa applications refused under the prior, narrower definition of close family members, the cable said.

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According to Judge Watson, the State Department did not correctly understand the order of the highest federal court.

They had been omitted by the department after the Supreme Court partially upheld the Trump administration's travel ban in June. "That simply can not be", he added.

The judge unilaterally made a decision to expand the interpretation to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and siblings-in-law.

In his decision, Watson harshly criticized the government's definition of close family relations as "the antithesis of common sense".

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"By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the Executive branch in a time of grave threats, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court", Sessions said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a strongly worded statement announcing the appeal on Friday, accused the Hawaii court of having "undermined national security, delayed necessary action, created confusion and violated a proper respect for separation of powers".

"Treating all of these relationships as "close familial relationship [s]' reads the term 'close" out of the Court's decision", noted the appeal. He ruled for the state late on Thursday.

On Saturday, the U.S. Justice Department asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to put Watson's ruling on hold while the Supreme Court considers its appeal. "The Supreme Court has had to correct this lower court once, and we will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the Executive Branch's duty to protect the nation".

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The Supreme Court was already slated to take up the case in October, but the Justice Department says it should step in earlier and "clarify" how far Mr. Trump can carry the travel ban now.

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