White House official takes issue with judge's travel ban ruling

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 14, 2017 11:24 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Friday took issue with a judge's ruling that said President Donald Trump's travel ban cannot be applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens and refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies.

The administration has not yet said whether it will appeal the decision, which limited the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The Justice Department has so far declined to comment.

White House Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told reporters that the ruling appeared to be "fairly broad and something that would trouble me if it was as broad as reported."

Bossert, speaking aboard Air Force One as the president returned from a trip to Paris, focused his remarks on part of the ruling late on Thursday that would allow more refugees to enter the country, saying the ruling could be interpreted as "so expansive as to cover every refugee."

He said the administration will consult with its lawyers and "decide whether this is another productive or unproductive step in this saga as we try to secure our country."

In Thursday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii said the administration cannot stop grandparents and other relatives of U.S. citizens from entering the country. The administration had narrowly interpreted a Supreme Court order last month saying the ban could take effect, but that people with a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. person or entity could not be barred.

Watson also ruled that the assurance by a resettlement agency to provide basic services to a newly arrived refugee constitutes an adequate connection to the United States because it is a sufficiently formal and documented agreement that triggers responsibilities and compensation.

The state of Hawaii turned to Watson to seek clarity on the Supreme Court order that revived parts of Trump's March 6 executive order banning travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, as well as refugees for 120 days.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)