Federal judge rules grandparents, other relatives of legal residents exempt from Trump travel ban

Judge widens Trump administration's narrow interpretation.
trump travel ban, judge derrick watson, federal judge travel ban, hawaii travel ban
Judge Derrick Watson expanded the list of family relationships of family from the six countries in Trump's travel ban seeking to enter the U.S. Photo: Flickr

A federal judge in Hawaii on Thursday ruled the Trump travel ban on six mostly Muslim nations should not prevent grandparents and other relatives of legal residents from entering the United States.

 

Judge Derrick Watson issued the order in a late Thursday night ruling, finding the Trump administration’s definition of “close family” too narrow, The Associated Press reported.

 

Last month the Supreme Court allowed parts of the travel ban to take effect, which banned travel to the U.S. by anyone from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days except for travelers with “close family” already living inside the U.S. The ban went into effect on July 12.

 

Following the June 27 Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration issued guidance defining “close family” as parents, parents-in-law, a spouse, children, siblings, and step and half siblings, later adding fiancées to the list.

 

In his ruling this week, Judge Watson wrote that the government’s cramped definition —which excluded grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and any other “extended” family members — “represents the antithesis of common sense.”

Watson is the same federal court judge who issued an injunction in March blocking the second version of the Trump travel ban. His injunction was upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals until it was heard by the Supreme Court.

The travel ban allowed to go into effect by the country’s highest court allows for a 90-day pause on travel by nationals from the six mostly Muslim nations and a 120-day stop to refugee resettlement, to give the Trump administration time to review its vetting procedures for immigration from the six named countries.

It did, however, offer an exception. Travelers able to show a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” would be exempt from the ban.

 
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