U.S. issues travel ban for Cuba’s Castro over human rights accusations, support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Cuban Communist Party chief Raul Castro

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Thursday imposed U.S. travel sanctions on Cuban Communist Party chief Raul Castro over his support for Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, and involvement in what it called “gross violations of human rights.”

Taking a direct but largely symbolic swipe at Cuba’s leadership as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s continuing pressure campaign against Havana, the State Department banned travel to the United States by Castro, Cuba’s former president and younger brother of the late Fidel Castro, as well as family members.

“Castro is responsible for Cuba’s actions to prop up the former Maduro regime in Venezuela through violence, intimidation, and repression,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

In addition to Castro, the State Department also sanctioned his children, Alejandro Castro Espin, Deborah Castro Espin, Mariela Castro Espin, and Nilsa Castro Espin.

The measures that Pompeo said would block their entry to the United States are likely to have limited impact. Castro last visited in 2015 to address the United Nations General Assembly. His children are also believed to have rarely traveled to the United States. Mariela Castro Espin, a gay rights activist, made stops in New York and San Francisco in 2012.

Pompeo also accused Castro, Cuba’s most powerful figure, of overseeing “a system that arbitrarily detains thousands of Cubans and currently holds more than 100 political prisoners.”

The Cuban government, which strongly rejects such accusations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was the latest in a series of punitive measures that Trump has taken against Washington’s old Cold War foe since taking office in 2017, steadily rolling back the historic opening to Havana under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump has focused especially on Cuba’s support for Maduro, a longtime ally of Havana. Earlier this year, the United States and dozens of other countries recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president, though Maduro retains the backing of Russia and China as well as the OPEC nation’s military.

“In concert with Maduro’s military and intelligence officers, members of the Cuban security forces have been involved in gross human rights violations and abuses in Venezuela, including torture,” Pompeo said. Cuba has strongly denied the U.S. accusations.

Speaking in New York while attending the U.N. General Assembly, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza scoffed at the U.S. measure against Castro, saying it was an attempt to humiliate him.

“And neither Raul Castro nor his family even want to come to this country! We are forced to come here because the U.N. headquarters is in New York, for now,” said Arreaza, referring to a similar U.S. travel bar on Venezuelan officials and citing a Russian offer to host the United Nations in Sochi.

Last week, the Trump administration ordered the expulsion of two members of Cuba’s delegation to the United Nations.

Washington has made clear that a key objective of its tough approach to Cuba is to force it to abandon Maduro, something Havana has said it will never do. However, Trump has stopped short of breaking off diplomatic relations with Cuba restored by Obama in 2015 after more than five decades of hostility.

Maduro has accused Guaido – who earlier this year assumed an interim presidency after alleging that Maduro had rigged the last election – of trying to mount a U.S.-directed coup.

“Castro is complicit in undermining Venezuela’s democracy and triggering the hemisphere’s largest humanitarian crisis,” Pompeo said.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert in Washington, Sarah Marsh and Marc Frank in Havana; and Andrew Cawthorne in Caracas; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker)

U.S. cruise operators stop sailing to Cuba, travelers vent anger online

Tourists enjoy a view of the city in Havana, Cuba, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

(Reuters) – Major U.S. cruise operators said on Wednesday they will no longer sail to Cuba following the Trump administration’s ban on travel to the Caribbean island, angering travelers and prompting worries about trip cancellations and company earnings.

The new restrictions are aimed at pressuring Cuba’s Communist government to reform and stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“Due to changes in U.S. policy, the company will no longer be permitted to sail to Cuba effective immediately,” Carnival Corp said.

A spokesman for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said the company had ceased all calls to Cuba and was modifying previously scheduled sailings.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday the country would no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, as well as private and corporate aircraft.

American Airlines Group Inc, JetBlue Airways Corp and United Airlines, which started flying to Cuba in 2016, said they were reviewing the revised regulations.

Delta Air Lines Inc said it had stopped accepting bookings to Cuba under the so-called people-to-people license as of midnight on June 4. Customers who booked under the exemption before that time will be allowed to travel.

“The reduction in the number of travelers will probably mean the end of U.S. commercial air flights from places outside Florida because there won’t be sufficient demand to fill regular flights,” said William LeoGrande, a Cuba expert and a professor of government at American University.

The ban was effective as of Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department told Reuters, giving cruise lines no grace period to change destinations and sowing confusion among cruise passengers.

Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean said they would stop at different non-Cuban ports and would offer compensation to travelers.

Carnival said the guests currently aboard its Carnival Sensation cruise that set sail on June 3 would now stop in Mexican island Cozumel on Thursday instead of Havana. The company said the guests would receive a $100 onboard credit for the inconvenience.

“We are working as quickly as possible to secure alternative itineraries for the remainder of our Cuba voyages and expect to have information for sailings further out in the next 2-3 days,” Carnival said. It has three cruise lines that sail to Cuba.

Royal Caribbean said all cruises on the ‘Majesty of the Seas’ and ‘Empress of the Seas’ this year will have alternative ports in the Caribbean. It is also working on alternate itineraries for 2020 sailings.

Guests can cancel their current booking for a full refund, or can keep their sailing date with a new itinerary and receive a 50% refund, Royal Caribbean said.

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean said its ships sailing Wednesday and Thursday would no longer stop in Cuba.

Travelers took to Twitter to vent their anger and frustration over the forced changes in their vacation plans.

“Has anyone’s cruise to Cuba from @CruiseNorwegian been rerouted yet? If so where did they change the port of call to? Im (sic) booked for July and PISSED! Thanks Trump!” tweeted Sabrina Carollo @superbri_22.

Susan Berland, a parenting coach from Huntersville, North Carolina, said she was enraged that a vacation designed around visiting Cuba had been upended by the Trump administration.

“To say I’m angry is an understatement. This whole (sic) cruise was chosen around going to Cuba and now we can’t,” tweeted @SusanBerland.

Neither responded to requests for further comment.

Cuba accounts for a small percent of sailings at about 4% for Norwegian Cruise, about 3% for Royal Caribbean, and about a percent for Carnival, Wolfe Research analyst Jared Shojaian wrote in a note.

Shojaian said that while cruise lines can easily swap a Cuban port for another non-Cuban port, guests may have purchased the itinerary entirely for Cuba.

“That means cruise lines may need to issue refunds or future cruise credits to compensate guests, which makes forecasting the earnings impact to 2019 even harder, and potentially more of a headwind,” he said.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise closed down 3.5%, while Royal Caribbean and Carnival ended about 3% lower.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Maju Samuel and Tom Brown)

Supreme court backs Trump on travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations

Trees cast shadows outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed Donald Trump one of the biggest victories of his presidency, upholding his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

The 5-4 ruling, with the court’s five conservatives in the majority, ends for now a fierce fight in the courts over whether the policy represented an unlawful Muslim ban. Trump can now claim vindication after lower courts had blocked his travel ban announced in September, as well as two prior versions, in legal challenges brought by the state of Hawaii and others.

The court held that the challengers had failed to show that the ban violates either U.S. immigration law or the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the government “has set forth a sufficient national security justification” to prevail.

“We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts added.

The ruling affirmed broad presidential discretion over who is allowed to enter the United States. It means that the current ban can remain in effect and that Trump could potentially add more countries. Trump has said the policy is needed to protect the country against attacks by Islamic militants.

The current ban, announced in September, prohibits entry into the United States of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The Supreme Court allowed it to go largely into effect in December while the legal challenge continued.

The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims and urged courts to take into account his inflammatory comments during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump as a candidate called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The travel ban was one of Trump’s signature hardline immigration policies that have been a central part of his presidency and “America First” approach. Trump issued his first version just a week after taking office, though it was quickly halted by the courts.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Supreme Court poised to rule on Trump travel ban, California law on anti abortion clinic regulations

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen after the court revived Ohio's contentious policy of purging infrequent voters from its registration rolls, overturning a lower court ruling that Ohio's policy violated the National Voter Registration Act, in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Erin Schaff/File Photo

By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court, winding down its nine-month term, will issue rulings this week in its few remaining cases including a major one on the legality of President Donald Trump’s ban on people from five Muslim-majority nations entering the country.

The nine justices are due to decide other politically sensitive cases on whether non-union workers have to pay fees to unions representing certain public-sector workers such as police and teachers, and the legality of California regulations on clinics that steer women with unplanned pregnancies away from abortion.

The justices began their term in October and, as is their usual practice, aim to make all their rulings by the end of June, with more due on Monday. Six cases remain to be decided.

The travel ban case was argued on April 25, with the court’s conservative majority signaling support for Trump’s policy in a significant test of presidential powers.

Trump has said the ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamic militants. Conservative justices indicated an unwillingness to second-guess Trump on his national security rationale.

Lower courts had blocked the travel ban, the third version of a policy Trump first pursued a week after taking office last year. But the high court on Dec. 4 allowed it to go fully into effect while the legal challenge continued.

The challengers, led by the state of Hawaii, have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims. Lower courts have decided the ban violated federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.

The current ban, announced in September, prohibits entry into the United States by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

In a significant case for organized labor, the court’s conservatives indicated opposition during arguments on Feb. 26 to so-called agency fees that some states require non-members to pay to public-sector unions.

Workers who decide not to join unions representing certain state and local employees must pay the fees in two dozen states in lieu of union dues to help cover the cost of non-political activities such as collective bargaining. The fees provide millions of dollars annually to these unions.

The justices seemed skeptical during March 20 arguments toward California’s law requiring Christian-based anti-abortion centers, known as crisis pregnancy centers, to post notices about the availability of state-subsidized abortions and birth control. The justices indicated that they would strike down at least part of the regulations.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool)

U.S. visa applicants to be asked for social media history: State Department

FILE PHOTO - A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter and a Facebook logo as he poses with a laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – The U.S. government plans to collect social media history from nearly everyone who seeks entry into the United States, State Department proposals showed on Friday as part of President Donald Trump’s policy of “extreme vetting.”

Most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants – about 14.7 million people – will be asked to list on a federal application form all of the social media identities that they have used in the past five years – information that will be used to vet and identify them, according to the proposals.

The State Department will publish the proposals in a notice in the Federal Register on Friday seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget. The public has 60 days to comment on the requests.

The proposals support President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge in 2016 to crack down on illegal immigration for security reasons and his call for “extreme vetting” of foreigners entering the United States.

The department said it intends not to routinely ask most diplomatic and official visa applicants for the social media information.

If approved, applicants also will be required to submit five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses and their international travel history. They will be asked if they have been deported or removed from any country and whether family members have been involved in terrorist activities, the department said.

Courts have struck down the first two versions of Trump’s travel ban and the current one is narrower in scope than its predecessors. The Supreme Court will consider its legality this spring and a decision is expected in June.

(Editing by Bill Trott)

U.S. has begun fully implementing Trump travel ban: State Dept.

U.S. has begun fully implementing Trump travel ban: State Dept.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said it began fully implementing President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled the order could be enforced while legal appeals continue.

Trump’s order, which calls for “enhancing vetting capabilities” at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, directs the departments of State and Homeland Security to restrict the entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen – as well as from Venezuela and North Korea.

The State Department said in a statement on Friday that no visas would be revoked under the new vetting procedures. It said the restrictions were not intended to be permanent and could be lifted as “countries work with the U.S. government to ensure the safety of Americans.”

Trump promised as a candidate to impose “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and his effort to implement a travel ban has run into repeated legal challenges since he first announced it a week after taking office.

The current ban is the third version from the administration. Lower courts allowed the provisions covering North Korea and Venezuela to go into effect.

Challenges continue for the six predominantly Muslim countries, charging that the ban discriminates on the basis of religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution and is not permissible under immigration laws.

The Supreme Court on Monday granted the administration’s request to lift two injunctions that partially blocked the ban. The decision allows the restrictions to go into force, even as legal challenges continue in lower courts. Two liberal justices dissented.

(Reporting by David Alexander)

Supreme Court lets Trump’s latest travel ban go into full effect

Supreme Court lets Trump's latest travel ban go into full effect

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by allowing his latest travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into full effect even as legal challenges continue in lower courts.

The nine-member court, with two liberal justices dissenting, granted his administration’s request to lift two injunctions imposed by lower courts that had partially blocked the ban, which is the third version of a contentious policy that Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January.

The high court’s action means that the ban will now go fully into effect for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen seeking to enter the United States. The Republican president has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic militants.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the Supreme Court’s action “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people.” Sessions said the Trump administration was heartened that a clear majority of the justices “allowed the president’s lawful proclamation protecting our country’s national security to go into full effect.”

The ban was challenged in separate lawsuits by the state of Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both sets of challengers said the latest ban, like the earlier ones, discriminates against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution and is not permissible under immigration laws.

Trump had promised as a candidate to impose “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Last week he shared on Twitter anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British party leader.

“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret – he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” ACLU lawyer Omar Jadwat said.

“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims. We continue to stand for freedom, equality and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones,” Jadwat added.

Lower courts had previously limited the scope of the ban to people without either certain family connections to the United States or formal relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies.

Trump’s ban also covers people from North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela, but the lower courts had already allowed those provisions to go into effect.

The high court said in two similar one-page orders that lower court rulings that partly blocked the latest ban should be put on hold while federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia weigh the cases. Both courts are due to hear arguments in those cases this week.

The Supreme Court said the ban will remain in effect regardless of what the appeals courts rule, at least until the justices ultimately decide whether to take up the issue on the merits, which they are highly likely to do. The court’s order said the appeals courts should decide the cases “with appropriate dispatch.”

“We agree a speedy resolution is needed for the sake of our universities, our businesses and most of all, for people marginalized by this unlawful order,” Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied the administration’s request.

STRONG SIGNAL

Monday’s action sent a strong signal that the court is likely to uphold the ban on the merits when the case likely returns to the justices in the coming months.

There are some exceptions to the ban. Certain people from each targeted country can still apply for a visa for tourism, business or education purposes, and any applicant can ask for an individual waiver.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the merits of Hawaii’s challenge on Wednesday in Seattle. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will arguments on the merits of case spearheaded by the ACLU on Friday in Richmond.

Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January, then issued a revised one in March after the first was blocked by federal courts. The second one expired in September after a long court fight and was replaced with the present version.

The Trump administration said the president put the latest restrictions in place after a worldwide review of the ability of each country in the world to issue reliable passports and share data with the United States.

The administration argues that a president has broad authority to decide who can come into the United States, but detractors say the expanded ban violates a law forbidding the government from discriminating based on nationality when issuing immigrant visas.

The administration has said the ban is not discriminatory and pointed out that many Muslim-majority countries are unaffected by it.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York, Roberta Rampton aboard Air Force One and Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)

Hawaii, ACLU ask U.S. top court not to allow full Trump travel ban

Hawaii, ACLU ask U.S. top court not to allow full Trump travel ban

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The state of Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to allow President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban that would bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries to go into full effect after it was partially blocked by lower courts.

Lawyers for the Democratic-governed state and the civil liberties group, pursuing separate legal challenges to the ban, were responding to the Trump administration’s request last week that the conservative-majority court allow the ban to go into effect completely while litigation over the policy continues.

Both sets of challengers said the latest ban, Trump’s third, discriminates against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution and is not permissible under immigration laws.

The Republican president has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Muslim militants. As a candidate, Trump had promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

In the ACLU court filing, its lawyers said the administrative process that led to the latest ban “does not wipe away the history of the president’s efforts to ban Muslims, especially given the remarkable similarity between the current ban and its predecessors.”

On Nov. 13, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the ban to go partly into effect while the litigation continued, lifting part of a Hawaii-based district court judge’s nationwide injunction.

Separately, a judge in Maryland partly blocked the ban on similar lines in the case spearheaded by the ACLU.

The Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in both cases. The high court could act at any time.

Whatever the Supreme Court decides, the two cases will continue in lower courts. The 9th Circuit and the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals both are due to hear oral arguments on the merits of the challenges next week.

Trump’s ban was announced on Sept. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.

The ban currently applies to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who do not have connections to the United States. Those with certain family relationships and other formal connections to the United States, such as through a university, can enter the country.

The ban also covers people from North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela, and lower courts have allowed those provisions to go into effect.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

White House asks Supreme Court to allow full travel ban

White House asks Supreme Court to allow full travel ban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to allow President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban to take full effect after an appeals court in California ruled last week that only parts of it could be enacted.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 partially granted a Trump administration request to block at least temporarily a judge’s ruling that had put the new ban on hold. It ruled the government could bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States.

Trump’s ban was announced on Sept. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.

The administration’s appeal to the top U.S. court argued that the latest travel ban differed from the previous orders “both in process and in substance” and that the differences showed it “is based on national-security and foreign-affairs objectives, not religious animus.”

It also argued that even if the 9th Circuit ruled to uphold the partial ban, the Supreme Court was likely to overturn that decision as it had “the last time courts barred the President from enforcing entry restrictions on certain foreign nationals in the interest of national security.”

Last week’s appeals court ruling meant the ban would only apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who did not have connections to the United States.

Those connections are defined as family relationships and “formal, documented” relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies. Those with family relationships that would allow entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

The state of Hawaii, which sued to block the restrictions, argued that federal immigration law did not give Trump the authority to impose them on six of those countries. The lawsuit did not challenge restrictions toward people from the two other countries listed in Trump’s ban, North Korea and Venezuela.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu ruled last month that Hawaii was likely to succeed with its argument.

Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January, just a week after he took office, and then issued a revised one after the first was blocked by the courts. The second one expired in September after a long court fight and was replaced with another revised version.

Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamist militants. As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Critics of the travel ban in its various iterations call it a “Muslim ban” that violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion.

The 9th Circuit is due to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 6. In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect.

An appeal in the Maryland case is being heard on Dec. 8 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Appeals court lets Trump travel ban go partially into effect

Appeals court lets Trump travel ban go partially into effect

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court in California on Monday let President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban go partially into effect, ruling the government can bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially granted a Trump administration request to block at least temporarily a judge’s ruling that had put the new ban on hold. Trump’s ban was announced on Sept. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.

The action means the ban will apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who do not have connections to the United States.

Those connections are defined as family relationships and “formal, documented” relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies. Those with family relationships that would allow entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

“We are reviewing the court’s order and the government will begin enforcing the travel proclamation consistent with the partial stay. We believe that the proclamation should be allowed to take effect in its entirety,” Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said.

The state of Hawaii, which sued to block the restrictions, argued that federal immigration law did not give Trump the authority to impose them on six of those countries. The lawsuit did not challenge restrictions toward people from the two other countries listed in Trump’s ban, North Korea and Venezuela.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu ruled last month that Hawaii was likely to succeed with its argument.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said the court’s decision tracked what the Supreme Court said in June when it partially revived Trump’s second travel ban, which has now expired.

“I’m pleased that family ties to the U.S., including grandparents, will be respected,” Chin added.

Separately on Monday, a group of refugee organizations and individuals filed a lawsuit in Seattle federal court challenging Trump’s decision to suspend entry of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are majority Muslim, for at least 90 days.

Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January, just a week after he took office, and then issued a revised one after the first was blocked by the courts. The second one expired in September after a long court fight and was replaced with another revised version.

Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Muslim militants. As a candidate, Trump had promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Critics of the travel ban in its various iterations call it a “Muslim ban” that violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion.

The 9th Circuit is due to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 6. In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect.

An appeal in the Maryland case is being heard on Dec. 8 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Additional reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Will Dunham and Tom Brown)