[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday questioned [audio recording] the Justice Department lawyer representing the Trump administration in a hearing over the executive order restricting immigration from certain countries. Popularly known as the "travel ban," the Trump administration policy restricts refugee and general travel from six predominantly-Muslim nations in the stated-interested of national security. Though the Supreme Court defined [JURIST report] what was permissible under the program, there continues to be disagreement between the administration and opponents, including over who has a "close familial relationship" to a US person or "close, documented" ties to a US entity. When government attorney Hashim Mooppan [Reuters report] argued that grandparents should not fall within the scope of close familial relationships, Judge Ronald Gould countered, "what universe does that come from?"
Though claiming to serve the interest of national security, the travel ban has been widely criticized by organizations such as the ACLU and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project [advocacy websites] and has faced legal difficulties in court. In June the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] denied in part [JURIST report] and granted in part a motion to dismiss a class action suit filed against President Donald Trump and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) [official website]. In July, a federal judge expanded travel ban exemptions [JURIST report], though the Supreme Court later allowed the ban to apply to refugees [cnn report]. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear further arguments on the matter in October.