Hawaii Judge Expands List of Relatives Exempt From Trump's Travel Ban

Posted: Jul 14, 2017 8:00 AM

A federal judge in Hawaii ruled Thursday that grandparents and other family relatives are exempt from President Trump’s travel ban on six Middle Eastern and African nations—a direct challenge to the administration’s attempt to limit close family members allowed to travel to the U.S.

Specifically, "grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States" will now be considered close family relationships, according to U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s decision.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," he said in his ruling. "Indeed grandparents are the epitome of close family members."

Last month, the Supreme Court exempted visa applicants from the ban if they could prove a “bona fide” relationship with a U.S. citizen or entity. The White House had previously said the ban would not apply to citizens of six countries with a parent, spouse, fiancé, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling already in the U.S.

Hawaii said grandparents, uncles and aunts and other close relatives should also be exempted. The state asked Watson, who blocked the president's revised travel ban in March, to clarify that those family members are also exempt from the ban.

Watson rejected Hawaii's request, saying the state should go to the U.S. Supreme Court since it was seeking to clarify that court's requirement of a "bona fide relationship."

Hawaii appealed Watson's ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court said Watson's ruling was not appealable under federal judicial laws. The 9th Circuit, however, said Watson had the authority to interpret the Supreme Court's order and block any violation of it. Hawaii then renewed its last week request with Watson in a different form.

"Because plaintiffs now seek such injunctive relief, the court reaches the merits of their request, consistent with the Ninth Circuit's guidance," Watson wrote. (Fox News)

The travel ban affects people trying to come to the United States from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya.