The US State Department now says it will allow the grandparents of American citizens from six majority-Muslim countries to apply for visas, despite the initial wording of the Trump administration’s revised travel ban.
The department sent out a diplomatic cable with the policy reversal to US posts overseas on July 14, after a judge in Hawaii ruled that close family should be excluded from the ban, Reuters reports.
The memo also says that brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and first cousins of US citizens will be permitted to enter the country.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Hawaii ruling, also on July 14, and the justices gave the district court until Tuesday (July 18) to respond.
The back-and-forth on who would and wouldn’t be allowed to apply for a visa stems from the Supreme Court’s stipulation that the March 6 ban could proceed—except in relation to travelers who could prove a “bona fide” relationship to someone in the US.
The term sparked controversy after the State Department defined “bona fide” as excluding grandparents and fiancees (although it almost immediately reversed its decision for those engaged to get married). One Syrian-American told Quartz in June, when the ban was re-instated that the administration was “redefining” what family is.