USA judge exempts grandparents, other relatives from Trump's travel ban


The U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled the administration could block people from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia unless they have a close relationship to a person or entity in the U.S.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said the ruling makes it clear "that the USA government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit".

The Trump administration defined that to be parents, spouses, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, siblings and step- or half-siblings.

In his decision, Watson zeroed in on the fact that grandparents were notably excluded from the definition, and thus, the country. Thomas warned that the definition of bona fide relationships would open the door to a "flood of litigation" as us customs and border officials wrestle with whether travelers from the six countries have sufficient ties.

In addition to the "close familial" relationship challenge, there's now a challenge on behalf of refugees over what kind of relationship with a US entity counts as being "formed in the ordinary course" and not merely to evade the order.

Watson found that "the Government's narrowly defined list finds no support in the careful language of the Supreme Court or even in the immigration statutes on which the Government relies".

The travel ban saga started in January, following a hastily implemented executive order from Trump that caused travel chaos and led to protests at airports.

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More than 24,000 additional refugees should be allowed to travel to the USA under Watson's order, she estimated. Those denied included grandparents of United States residents, for example, and the administration refused to consider refugees who'd already been assigned to American nonprofits to have a "bona fide" relationship. "Now that members actually have paper in their hand they can look at what is likely to be very close to the final bill we'll be voting on and move forward". "That simply can not be".

He also argued a refugee's assurance from an agency satisfies the Supreme Court's "bona fide" relationship requirement because of the formal, binding nature of the contract.

"Last night's ruling represents relief for over 24,000 refugees who had already been vetted and approved by the US and assigned to resettlement agencies". This time, the ruling halts the president's edict, which could cause further confusion among USA customs officials at points of entry.

The constitutionality Travel Ban as a whole will be decided by the high court in the fall.

The travel ban guidelines overturned this week were shared with USA embassies and consulates in late June.

U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson originally declined Hawaii's request, writing he wouldn't "usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court". Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas.

Thursday's ruling also stated that refugees with existing agreements with resettlement agencies are exempt from the ban, overturning the DOJ's guidelines.