US court expands list of those exempted from Trump's travel ban
The Hawaii court’s order expanded the exempted category of “bona fide” and “close familial relationships” to now include grandparents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, brothers- and-sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles and cousins.world Updated: Jul 14, 2017 20:46 IST
A federal court in Hawaii ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on travellers from six Muslim-majority countries will not apply to grandparents, grandchildren and other relatives of residents of the United States.
The court also exempted from the ban refugees from these countries being brought to the United States by a resettlement agency.
The court’s order significantly expanded the exempted category of “bona fide” and “close familial relationships” to now include grandparents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, brothers- and-sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles and cousins.
“(The) government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense,” district judge Derrick Watson said in his ruling, referring to the narrow definition of “close familial relationships” that the Trump administration had used earlier to exempt only parents, spouses, fiancés, children, siblings, stepchildren and sons- and-daughters-in-law from the travel ban.
The judge added, “Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
The Supreme Court in June had cleared the way for the implementation of the ban on travellers from Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Yemen and Syria, saying those claiming “bone fide” and “close familial relationships” to US residents could not be stopped.
The ban is in effect for 90 days for general travellers from these countries and for 120 for refugees. The Trump administration has stated time would be used to put in place an effective vetting mechanism to keep out terrorist or those posing a threat to America’s national security.
The ruling regarding refugees came under the Supreme Court’s guidance also exempting those claiming bona fide relationship with a US entity. “An assurance from a United States refugee resettlement agency, in fact, meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones,” Judge Watson wrote, adding, “It is formal, it is a documented contract, it is binding, it triggers responsibilities and obligations, including compensation, it is issued specific to an individual refugee only when that refugee has been approved for entry by the department of homeland security.”
The Hawaii court’s decision marks a victory for opponents of the travel ban that had a disastrous debut in January. A revised and narrower order went into effect in June after the Supreme Court cleared it partially, vacating stays by lowers courts, with exemptions.
There had been no response to the Hawaii court’s decision from either Trump, who has been personally critical of earlier court orders that did not go his way, or the justice department.