Friday, June 30, 2017

US sets new travel ban rules: Grandma, no; stepsister, yes

Jun 30 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
US sets new travel ban rules: Grandma, no; stepsister, yes

Enforces `Close Family' Test For Visitors From 6 Muslim Countries
Stepsiblings and half-siblings are allowed, but not nieces or nephews.Sonsand daughters-in-law are in, but parentsand siblings-in-law are not. Parents are considered “close family ,“ but grandparents are not.The state department issued new guidelines on Wednesday night to American embassies and consulates around the world on how they should enforce a limited travel ban against foreign visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Enforcement of the guidelines will begin at 8pm EST (5.30am IST) on Thursday .
The guidelines followed the Supreme Court's decision on Monday to allow parts of the Trump administration's revised travel ban to move forward, while also imposing certain limits, as the court prepares to hear arguments in October on the scope of presidential power over border security and immigration.
The court said the ban could not be imposed on anyone who had “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the US.“
The meaning of “bona fide relationship“ was not precisely explained, and the phrase has created much uncertainty for migrants and others seeking to travel to the US from six countries -Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen singled out in President Trump's revised travel ban, issued in March. (An earlier version of the ban included Iraq.) The Trump administration has now made the definition explicit. According to a diplomatic cable obtained by NYT, “close family“ is “defined as a parent (including parentin-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships.“
But it went on to state that “close family“ does not include “grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothersand sisters-in-law, fiancés and `extended' family members.“
It isn't clear how the administration arrived at the definition. US citizenship and im migration services defines “immediate relatives“ as spouses, children under 21 and parents of adult citizens. A bona fide relation with a “US entity,“ according to the cable, “must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order“.
The new guidelines make clear that someone who has accepted a job offer from a company in the US or an invitation to hold a lecture at an American university may enter, but that a nonprofit group may not seek out citizens of the affected countries and suddenly count them as clients for the purpose of getting around the ban.“Also, a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the US,“ the guidelines note.
Homeland security secretary John Kelly also unveiled enhanced security measures for foreign flights arriving in the US in what officials said was a move to prevent an expansion in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices. “Inaction is not an option,“ Kelly said, saying he believes airlines will comply with the new screening. But he said the measures are not the last step to tighten security.
US officials are requiring enhanced screening of personal electronic devices, passengers and explosive detection for the roughly 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the US from 280 airports in 105 countries.
The decision not to impose new restrictions on laptops is a boost to US airlines, which have worried that an expansion of the ban to Europe or other locations could cause significant logistical problems and deter some travel. European and US officials said that airlines have 21 days to put in place increased explosive screening and have 120 days to comply with other security measures, including enhanced screening of airline passengers.
It was reported earlier that US officials had suggested enhancements, including explosive trace detection screening, increased vetting of airport staff and additional detection dogs.

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