A federal judge in Honolulu has expanded the Trump administration’s list of family relationships needed by people seeking new visas from six mostly Muslim countries to avoid a travel ban.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled today that the travel ban exemptions should include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and other relatives.
President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which was partially allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court, did not include grandparents, grandchildren and other relations considered “bona-fide” family relationships to be granted an exemption to the ban. The administration said a bona fide relationship would be a parent, spouse, fiance, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States.
Hawaii filed a renewed request to expand the list.
In his ruling, Watson said, “The government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense.” He said grandparents are the “epitome” of close family members.
Hawaii’s Washington attorney, Neal Katyal, called the ruling a “sweeping victory” in a Tweet.
State Attorney General Douglas Chin issued a statement saying, in part, “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. Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this Executive Order has no basis in stopping terrorism and is just a pretext for illegal and unconstitutional discrimination.”