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Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer issued a letter last week to the U.S. State Department seeking a revision to the criteria being used to determine entry into the U.S. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and other extended family members are not currently considered to be close relationships, according to the new guidelines.
“I urge the State Department immediately to redefine bona fide relationships pursuant to the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Feuer, who expressed particular concern over the impact of the department’s action on Los Angeles’s significant Iranian-American community. “The State Department already has reversed course on allowing fiances entry, but the department should go further. It’s stunning that the department deems grandparents, grandkids and other close relatives as having merely ‘extended’ relationships with their families.”
The executive order is entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
In the letter, Feuer said he has “grave concern over the arbitrary, inhumane and unlawful application” of the order. He also noted that Los Angeles and the greater area is home to a large population of Iranian immigrants.
“More persons of Iranian heritage live in the Los Angeles area than anywhere in the world outside of Iran,” the letter stated. “According to a Brookings Institute study, the population of Iranian-Americans in greater Los Angeles is as high as 136,000. The vast majority of the Iranian-Americans living in the Los Angeles area trace their roots in this country to the Islamic revolution that overthrew the rule of Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979 … [and] many immigrants from the other five Muslim-majority countries singled out in the executive order also call Los Angeles their home.”
The letter also said that the State Department “intends to deny entry to certain close family members” such as grandparents and grandchildren. Feuer said the department “inaccurately” labeled grandparents and grandchildren as extended family, a characterization that is at odds with what the Supreme Court has ruled.
“I urge you to voluntarily and immediately conform the practices of the State Department, and other subsidiary federal agencies implementing the executive order, to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the injunction with regard to individuals with a ‘credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,’” the letter concludes. “The federal government has a clear legal and moral obligation to admit foreign nationals using the broadest and most common sense interpretation of the Supreme Court’s holding to include, among others, the grandparents and grandchildren of persons in the United States.”
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