Trump has said the policy is a necessary tool for national security and fighting terrorism
This Dec. 2015 file photo shows U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu. Watson on Thursday, July 13, 2017, expanded the list of family relationships needed by people seeking new visas from six mostly Muslim countries to avoid President Donald Trump's travel ban. Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States. (George Lee /The Star-Advertiser via AP, File), photo: The Star-Advertiser/George Lee via AP
14 of July 2017 13:34:32
HONOLULU – In another setback for President Donald Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii further weakened the already-diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of U.S. family relationships that visitors from six Muslim-majority countries can use to get into the country.The ruling Thursday was the latest volley in the fierce fight over the ban Trump first tried to put in place in January. It will culminate with arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in October.The rules are not so much an outright ban as a tightening of tough visa policies affecting citizens from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen. People from those countries who already have visas will be allowed into the U.S.Only narrow categories of people, including those with relatives named in the ruling, will be considered for new visas. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S."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."The State Department said Friday that it was reviewing the decision and will be consulting with the Justice Department "to ensure immediate implementation."Watson also ruled that the government may not exclude refugees who have formal assurance and promise of placement services from a resettlement agency in the U.S.The ruling could bring relief to more than 24,000 refugees who had already been vetted and approved by the United States, resettlement agencies said."Many of them had already sold all of their belongings to start their new lives in safety," said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. "This decision gives back hope to so many who would otherwise be stranded indefinitely."
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told reporters that Trump administration lawyers will closely review the ruling, but it appears broad enough to "cover every refugee."Bossert said he does not believe that was the interpretation the U.S. Supreme Court intended when it allowed a scaled-back version of the travel ban to take effect against those without a "bona fide relationship" with a person or an entity in the U.S.The justices didn't define a bona fide relationship but said it could include a close relative, a job offer or admission to a college or university. A relationship created to avoid the ban would not be acceptable, they said.The Trump administration defined it as those who had a parent, spouse, fiance, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.The case came back to Watson when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that he had the authority to interpret the Supreme Court's order and block any violation of it. He broadened the definition of what counts as a close relationship.Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who filed the case for the broader definition, said the court made 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," Chin said in a statement.
Last night, a federal judge in HI ruled to expand the categories of "bona fide relationships". Read our statement: https://t.co/1vjY1Z2CiN— IRAP (@RefugeeAssist) 14 de julio de 2017
JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER