Federal Court Denies State of Hawaii Challenge to Trump Administration Travel Ban Definition of ‘Bona Fide Relationship’
“In a motion filed by the state after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated portions of the ban on June 26, Attorney General Doug Chin argued that the Trump administration wrongly excluded grandparents and other relatives from the list of family members who can obtain visas to travel to the United States,” Hawaii News reported:
Under the ban, people from the six Muslim-majority nations that are impacted by the ban who sought new visas need to have either a ‘close relationship’ with a family member – parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling – or an entity such as a business within the United States.
Last week, attorneys for the federal government said that the ‘close’ family relationships allowed under the President Trump’s travel ban were based on definitions outlined by immigration law.
The state’s emergency motion – denied on Thursday by Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu – sought to make sure that the ban couldn’t be enforced against other family members, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles.
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“In his ruling, Watson reasoned that since the portion of the ban Hawaii was seeking to clarify was authored by the Supreme Court, the state’s lawyers should seek clarification directly from them,” Hawaii News reported:
“This Court will not upset the Supreme Court’s careful balancing and “equitable judgment” … nor would this district court presume to substitute its own understanding of the stay for that of the originating Court’s “exercise of discretion and judgment,” said Watson.
Watson is the same judge who issued a temporary injunction on March 15 halting President Trump’s Executive Order 13780 that banned the issuance of visas to citizens of six Middle Eastern countries for 90 days and temporarily stopped the admission of refugees for 120 days.
The Trump administration’s appeal of that case went to the Supreme Court, which issued a decision on June 26 that largely upheld the travel and refugee ban, with the condition that visa and refugee applicants who have “bona fide relationships” with American residents will be allowed entry, regardless of the ban.
The Trump administration quickly defined “bona fide relationship” in narrow terms–parent, sibling, child, spouse, or fiance. The State of Hawaii asked for a broader definition that included grandparents and other extended family members.