The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Hawaiian court's ruling that widened the definition of family members of six Muslim-dominant countries who would still be allowed to enter the U.S.
The order issued Wednesday leaves in place the action of U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, who extended the administration's definition of close family to also include categories such as the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of a person in the U.S.
One aspect of Watson's order did not pass muster with the Supreme Court though. People who have a formal relationship or sponsorship with a refugee resettlement are not eligible to enter the U.S. That portion of Watson’s decision is stayed pending an appeal to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
While waiting for the 9th Circuit ruling, 24,000 refugees the government says has been given such assurances will not be able to get into the country. Another 175,000 refugees are in limbo waiting to be connected with a resettlement agency. In effect, Hawaii argues, “many of those refugees…will be unable to demonstrate any other form of bona fide relationship with an American party, meaning that they will be absolutely barred from entering the country in the next several months.”