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Appeals panel OKs parts of travel ban

Those without bona fide ties to U.S. can be turned away, judges decide

A federal appeals court panel on Monday allowed President Donald Trump's third travel ban to partially take effect, deciding that the government -- at least for now -- can keep out people targeted by the measure who have no bona fide ties to the United States.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit temporarily put on hold part of a lower judge's ruling that had almost completely blocked the government from enforcing its ban.

The judges said the government could implement the ban, except on "foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." They said such people include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

Tyler Houlton, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said officials were reviewing the court order and "looking to operationalize the ruling, consistent with all applicable court orders, and provide guidance to the field." State and Justice department spokesmen said they would comment later.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, who had sued over the ban on behalf of his state, said in a statement: "Today's decision ... closely tracks guidance previously issued by the Supreme Court. I'm pleased that family ties to the U.S., including grandparents, will be respected."

The third version of Trump's travel ban had been set to take effect last month and would have barred various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. But before it could be implemented, two federal judges ruled against the measure, blocking the government from enforcing it on people from six of the eight countries.

A federal judge in Hawaii had blocked the government from implementing the measure almost completely, though he said it could be enforced on people from North Korea and Venezuela. A federal judge in Maryland, meanwhile, issued a less complete halt, saying the government could similarly not enforce the measure on people from six of the eight countries -- save North Korea and Venezuela -- but only if the travelers the government sought to block had a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. That would include family members, as well as those with job offers or other professional engagements.

The government appealed in both cases, and oral arguments are set for next month. To get the measure fully restored, the government would have to win in both the 9th Circuit, the higher court for the Hawaii case, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the appeals court for the Maryland case.

The ruling from the 9th Circuit does not affect that schedule but rather allows the government to implement the measure at least partially, on people without any U.S. ties, until then. The judges issued what is known as a stay, or temporary halt, on U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson's blockade of the ban. They could ultimately reverse course after hearing more arguments.

The government has argued the ban is necessary for national security, helping prevent those who might want to harm the U.S. from coming into the country. Various versions of the measure have taken a tortuous path through the legal system, and so far, none has succeeded in sticking.

The latest ban was devised after an extensive process in which the U.S. sought information from foreign governments to help vet their travelers. Those nations that were either unwilling or unable to cooperate ended up on the list, authorities have said.

Unlike the previous ban, the newest one is permanent; countries can get off the list, but only if they are able to provide the data the U.S. requires. It also affects different countries in different ways.

The case in the 9th Circuit is being heard by Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez, all appointed by former President Bill Clinton. The 4th Circuit recently announced it would consider the case sitting with a full complement of judges.

A Section on 11/14/2017

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