On September 7, 2017, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the Trump administration’s travel ban from limiting extended family who wish to visit relatives in the United States. The three-judge panel agreed that the administration interpreted “close family relationships” too narrowly by restricting grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins from visiting relatives who are seeking new US visas from six majority Muslim countries.
In June 2017, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that the ban could not be imposed on those who have a "bona fide" relationship to the United States, pending arguments scheduled for October 2017. The Supreme Court declined to define a “bona fide” relationship, leaving it subject to interpretation. The Ninth Circuit ruling affirms the decision of a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii, which held that restricting the travel of relatives to the United States contradicted the Supreme Court.
The debate stems from the Trump administration’s January 2017 travel ban, issued by the president’s executive order, whereby citizens from seven countries were banned from entering the United States. The revised executive order removed Iraq from the initial list of restricted countries. The current travel ban extends to citizens of Iran, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Syria.