Hawaii Judge Exempts Grandparents And Other Relatives From Trump Travel Ban

Yolanda Curtis
July 14, 2017

On Thursday, a judge in Hawaii loosened Trump's travel ban by exempting grandparents from the policy's restrictions.

Though the State Department's definition of "bona fide" was incredibly limited at first, it's gradually expanded to include not only grandparents, but also grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Judge Derrick K. Watson said grandparents and other close relatives - such as in-laws, aunts and uncles - traveling from the six affected countries, all of them predominantly Muslim, are exempt from the ban, for now.

Watson did not grant everything the state of Hawaii sought, however. "We will continue preparing for arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in October".

The US Supreme Court had allowed part of the ban to go into effect on June 30, putting an end, at least temporarily, to five months of skirmishes in lower courts. Rosenberg also elaborated on the Trump administration's definition of "close family", leaning on a formulation in the Immigration and Nationality Act that focuses on the children, spouses and parents of USA citizens or permanent residents.

More than 24,000 additional refugees should be allowed to travel to the USA under Watson's order, she estimated.

The Trump administration defined "close family relationship" to include parents, spouses, children, fiancees and siblings.

In a statement, Hawaii's Attorney General Douglas Chin said, "The federal court today makes clear that the U.S. Government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit".

Watson further agreed with Hawaii that a refugee resettlement agency's "formal assurance" to a refugee seeking admission to the USA counts as a sufficiently bona fide relationship as well.

A relationship created for purposes of avoiding the travel ban would not be acceptable, the justices said.

It set off massive protests at airports around the country and immediately sparked a sprawling, ongoing legal fight. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel.

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