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 travellers from the six countries. "That simply can not be". It excluded grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees, and other extended family members.
In his ruling, Watson touted the superiority of his own definition above that of the Trump administration, asserting: "The Government's definition represents the antithesis of common sense".
The Trump administration was ordered on Thursday by a federal judge in Hawaii to let the relations of the individuals in USA bypass the travel ban policy.
The roll-out of the narrowed version of the ban was more subdued than in January, when Trump first signed a more expansive version of his order.
"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.
Previously, the State Department defined close relationships as limited to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, fiancés and siblings, as the agency claims that this has been set out in immigration law guidelines.
"By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the Executive branch in a time of grave threats, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court", Sessions said.
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In its appeal to the High Court, the Justice Department argued that Watson's interpretation "empties the Court's decision of meaning", because it includes "not just "close" family members, but virtually all family members".
Last month the Supreme Court partially revived the March 6 ban that had been blocked by lower courts.
"Treating all of these relationships as "close familial relationship [s]' reads the term 'close" out of the Court's decision", noted the appeal.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who sought the broader definition, said Thursday's ruling "makes clear that the USA government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit".
The news indicates the State Department will comply with the latest court ruling on the Trump administration's executive order preventing certain immigrants and refugees from obtaining visas to enter the country.
The Supreme Court was already slated to take up the case in October, but the Justice Department says it should step in earlier and "clarify" how far Mr. Trump can carry the travel ban now.
Besides expanding the definition of close family, Watson said that the government could not prohibit entry by refugees assured of placement in the United States by recognized refugee agencies.