Judge expands close relatives in travel ban

Judge expands close relatives in travel ban

The Hawaii attorney general fighting President Donald Trump's travel ban is lauding a ruling by a federal judge that expands the list of relationships to USA citizens that are exempt from the ban.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in March stalled enforcement of the travel ban - which restricted immigration from six Muslim-majority nations - but he declined to clarify his ruling last week.

The federal government can not use the executive order to "exclude grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States", US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled, agreeing with Hawaii.

The Trump administration must now appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in order to get Watson's order lifted, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

Judge Watson, however, disagreed - and ordered that those restrictions should not be enforced.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents", Watson said in his ruling. "Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members", he wrote.

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Specifically, the court allowed a 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on refugees, with exceptions for people with "close family relationships" in the United States. It will culminate with arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

The Supreme Court is still considering the current version of the law, and allowed a temporary ban to come into effect in June pending their full judgement.

In a statement, Hawaii's Attorney General Douglas Chin said, "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".

The judge condemned the government's definition of a close relative as "unduly restrictive".

Rosenberg countered that an assurance from a refugee resettlement agency does not constitute a bona fide relationship and that resettlement is contingent upon a contract between the agency and the government.

That prompted the Trump administration to go to the Supreme Court for a ruling, where conservatives hold a majority of five to four.

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