Until the Supreme Court can get around to deciding the constitutionality of Trump’s most recent travel ban, aspects of the controversial executive order will move forward. To make sure American embassies and consulates are aware of who specifically they’re supposed to discriminate against (it can be so difficult to keep up with who we hate these days), the State Department has released a few helpful guidelines. Fittingly, the rules are about as clear as a typical Trump tweet.
The limited ban temporarily approved by SCOTUS allows Muslims into the country as long as they have reasonable ties in-country—specifically, “A credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Obviously that’s a little vague, but we no longer have to feel confused about what constitutes a bona fide relationship. In case you were wondering, your grandma definitely doesn’t count.
According to a recent report from the NYT, relationships that qualify as “close” include those with a “parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half.” Also included are any “step relationship” variations. You know who doesn’t count, though? “Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés and any other ‘extended’ family members.” It appears the the new law will primarily be used to avoid awkward Thanksgiving family dinners. Conan O’Brien, for his part, immediately saw the inherent value of the ban.
As far as bona fide relationships with American businesses, they “must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course.” That’s a little vague, but it definitely doesn’t extend to “a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, [as this] would not constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.”
Unfortunately for anybody coming from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen to celebrate a family reunion, make sure you bring along a step daughter-in-law or something, and, for the love of all that is good, don’t expect a hotel reservation to save you.