Grandmas, grandpas from Trump travel ban countries now welcome: US cable

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - Grandparents of U.S. citizens from six Muslim-majority countries are now eligible to receive U.S. visas, according to a State Department memo seen by Reuters that reflects the latest court ruling on U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The memo, or cable, from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was sent to all U.S. diplomatic posts overseas on Friday after a U.S. district judge in Hawaii issued a ruling late on Thursday limiting the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from the six countries.

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Protests against Trump's proposed travel ban
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Protests against Trump's proposed travel ban
People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A man holds an umbrella during a protest of U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A protester from Amnesty International rallies against U.S. President Donald Trump's new executive order temporarily banning the entry of refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries in Sydney, Australia, March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed
Demonstrator protests against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
A woman protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
Chrissy Pearce protests outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco, California February 7, 2017, ahead of the Court hearing arguments regarding President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. REUTERS/Noah Berger
Demonstrators protest against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Protestors rally in front of the Trump Building on Wall Street during a protest against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban and refugee policies, March 28, 2017 in New York City. The Trump administration's proposed travel ban includes a provision that would bar refugees entry into the United States for 120 days. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Protestors place photographs of refugees in rafts in front of the Trump Building on Wall Street during a protest against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban and refugee policies, March 28, 2017 in New York City. The Trump administration's proposed travel ban includes a provision that would bar refugees entry into the United States for 120 days. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 16: Demonstrators protest outside the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on March 16, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were protesting the revised travel ban that the administration of President Donald Trump was trying to implement. The ban, which would restrict travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, was supposed to be instituted today but was halted yesterday by a federal judge in Hawaii. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather near The White House to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim countries on March 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather near The White House to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim countries on March 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 3: Protestors write messages directed toward President Donald Trump on lanterns near the Washington Monument, February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. The protest is aimed at President Trump's travel ban policy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters with banners and placards march through central London during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump on February 4, 2017 in London, England. Thousands of protesters march from the U.S. Embassy in London to Downing Street today against President Trump's executive order banning immigration to the USA from seven Muslim countries. (Photo by Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: Linda Sarsour attends a rally to protest the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries in New York City on January 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 03: Demonstrators protest against US President Donald Trump's ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US on February 3, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The demonstrators are protesting against United States President Donald Trump's travel ban affecting citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Rosalie Gurna, 9, holds a sign in support of Muslim family members as people protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on Muslim majority countries, at the International terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban in New York City, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators participate in a protest by the Yemeni community against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu found the government cannot bar grandparents and other relatives of United States citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from getting visas under the ban.

Watson declined to put his ruling on hold pending appeal, meaning it went into effect immediately. The administration has asked the Supreme Court and San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the decision.

The July 14 cable updated the definition of "close family" that are exempt from the temporary travel ban laid down in Trump's March 6 executive order.

The cable reversed the State Department's previous, narrow definition of close family and stated that "grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and cousins" are eligible for visas.

RELATED: Banned Grandmas Instagram account protests Trump's travel ban

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Banned Grandmas Instagram account protests Trump's travel ban
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Banned Grandmas Instagram account protests Trump's travel ban
@hdagres is the curator of @theiranist and her Mamani is newly banned from the US.
@kia4congress's grandma đź’ś
Camilla Razavi with that mamani mach-o-boos #muslimban #nobannowall
Yasmin's grandma is guilty of the wild belief that each meal must be accompanied by sherry and a cigarette
Meet @anpour's late grandmother. She used to come to the US for medical treatments for her hearing. Posting this in memoriam of her and other mamanis who come to the US for medical reasons.
@destinationunknown's grandma's crime? Making amazing kookoo sabzi
Throwback to when Reza's grandma WAS allowed in the US and made it to his graduation.
Amir just finished law school in NY, but his grandma is barred from visiting to celebrate him.
Vahid đź’ś's his mamani
Maman Saideh won't be in NYC for Asal's graduation from Columbia University - via @maya_1957
This is Alison's mamani. Probably guilty of too much mach-o-boos.
@sanamche is an Iranian architecture student in NY. This is her grandma. Clearly this is a ban on torshi, not terrorism.
Check out the plate of shirini beside @shayanmodarres's grandma. The US will be less sweet by barring her entry.
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Consulates and embassies do not need to re-open any visa applications refused under the prior, narrower definition of close family members, the cable said.

Between March 10 and March 17, Tillerson issued four cables, originally giving instructions on implementing the travel ban, then rescinding much of his guidance because of court rulings and because it had been issued without approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

In another reversal, the State Department had originally interpreted the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling to exclude fiancés, saying they do not count as a close family relationship eligible for an exemption to the travel ban. Just before the 90-day travel ban was to take effect on June 29, the State Department said fiancés would be counted as close family.

"These guys (consular officers) have had enough whiplash over the past six, seven months but they continue to fulfill their role, which is to process visa applications," said Stephen Pattison, a former State Department consular official now working as an immigration attorney. "The people who are really getting whiplash are the people in the Department who are responsible for formulating the policy, getting it approved and getting it sent out."

A State Department official declined to comment on internal communications.

"We regularly provide updated operational instructions to our embassies and consulates around the world to ensure that our consular officers are using the most up-to-date vetting procedures as they adjudicate visas," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"We are processing visa applications for nationals of the six affected countries as directed by the Executive Order and to the extent permitted by court decisions," the official said.

Last month the Supreme Court partially revived the March 6 ban that had been blocked by lower courts. It said the ban could take effect, but people with a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. person or entity could not be barred. (Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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