U.S. Law Center

A look at what relationships are “bona fide” under the travel ban

Many immigrants who live in Riverside County have close relatives that still reside in their country of origin. It is not uncommon for immigrants to seek to have their close family members come to visit them in the United States. However, the narrowed version of the Trump administration’s travel ban approved by the U.S. Supreme Court has barred travel into the country from people from certain countries unless they have a “bona fide” relationship with someone living in the U.S., reports Bloomberg.

Under the original wording of the order, a bona fide relationship could be with either an entity, such as a school or employer, or with a close family member. Parents and children (including in-laws), spouses and siblings all made the cut. Other familial relationships did not, even though they may be considered part of a close family unit to many people.

However, according to the Economist, this exclusion of certain family members has now been challenged. The Department of Justice sought clarification from the Supreme Court on what is considered a bona fide relationship, which the court did not give. However, a lower-court had previously ruled that the list of what is considered a close family member should be expanded to include:

  • Cousins
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings-in-law

By choosing to not block the lower-court’s ruling, some have seen it as an endorsement by the Supreme Court. However, the justices disagreed with another ruling by the same judge regarding expanding entry for refugees. Those restrictions remain in effect.

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