- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2017

President Trump’s revived travel ban will kick into operation at 8 p.m. Thursday, officials announced, and will include a tighter-than-expected screen on potential refugees worldwide and visitors from six Muslim-majority countries which the White House targeted for “extreme vetting.”

Administration officials detailed the new plans, which will only allow immediate blood relatives — parents, children and siblings — to enter the U.S. under extreme vetting. Excluded will be those who claim a grandparent, aunt or uncle relationship; a friendship; or plans to be married.

The new rules come just three days after the Supreme Court revived the president’s March travel ban executive order, saying lower courts bungled the case and saying that at least for those who can’t prove a “bona fide” close connection to U.S. persons or institutions, Mr. Trump can block them from entering.

Officials insisted they’ll make the implementation as easy as possible, hoping to avoid the disastrous rollout that marred the initial executive order’s implementation in January.

“We expect business as usual at the ports of entry starting at 8 p.m. tonight,” one senior official said.

Lawyers and activists have already said they would be at ports of entry to provide legal advice or show support for visitors.

Immigrant-rights groups had argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling would leave almost nobody on the outside. They said nearly every potential visitor to the U.S. already has family or a business or school tie that draws them, and said every refugee already in the pipeline to be resettled in the U.S. has a connection to a resettlement agency.

They argued the only visitors who appeared to be banned were tourists.

Advocates said the administration’s new rules drew the net too tightly by excluding grandparents and grandchildren, as well as others.

“Those engaged to be married, for example, have been cruelly left out,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director at the National Immigration Law Center. “This reported guidance should leave no doubt that the Trump administration will exploit any opportunity to advance its xenophobic agenda.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the immigrants’ rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the new policy violates what the Supreme Court had ordered.

The administration said it based its definition of family on the Immigration and Nationality Act and on the Supreme Court’s decision.

In their Monday ruling the justices said the president’s national security powers are at their peak when applied to people who have no connection to the U.S. Those who do have connections, however, have constitutional rights that must be weighed.

The 9-0 ruling overturned several lower court decisions that had halted both Mr. Trump’s 90-day pause on admissions from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and his 120-day pause in admitting refugees.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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