A federal judge in Hawaii issued a ruling on Thursday that will allow more people from the six majority-Muslim countries impacted by President Donald Trumpâ€™s travel ban to enter the United States, marking the latest legal decision to thwart the Trump administrationâ€™s agenda.
Under the version of the travel ban which the Supreme Court unanimously greenlighted, only citizens of the six countries with â€śbona fideâ€ť ties to the United States were permitted entry. This meant that they needed either a close family member â€“ spouse, sibling, parent, and child, among others â€“ or an affiliation with an American institution to cross the border.
However, Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the Trump travel banâ€™s definition of â€śclose family relationshipsâ€ť to be to narrow, as it exempted grandparents.
â€śThe governmentâ€™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,â€ť he wrote. â€śCommon sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents.â€ť
â€śIndeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members,â€ť Watsonâ€™s ruling continued. â€śThe Governmentâ€™s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.â€ť
In addition to grandparents and grandchildren, Watsonâ€™s ruling instructed the State Department and Homeland Security to not enforce the ban on â€śbrothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States.â€ť
Hawaii attorney general Douglas Chin, who filed the lawsuit against the Trump administration on behalf of the state, celebrated the ruling as a repudiation of the federal governmentâ€™s current practices.
â€śFamily members have been separated and real people have suffered enough,â€ť Chin said. â€śCourts have found that this Executive Order has no basis in stopping terrorism and is just a pretext for illegal and unconstitutional discrimination.â€ť
Trumpâ€™s first attempt to institute a travel ban in January was met with fierce protests at airports across the country and was swiftly halted by the courts. The version that did pass through the Supreme Court will be reviewed once again in October.