Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Grandparents now welcome under travel ban

Grandparents now welcome under travel ban

The Trump administration was ordered on Thursday by a federal judge in Hawaii to let the relations of the individuals in US bypass the travel ban policy.

The administration's apparent change of heart comes just days after a federal judge in Hawaii temporarily halted the Department of Homeland Security from barring grandparents and other relatives from the U.S.

Under the Trump administration guidelines, spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, fiances and siblings of those already in the country can be admitted. He rejected a request to categorically exempt all Iraqis refugee applicants who believe they are at risk due to their work for the USA government since March, 2003, as interpreters and translators, for instance.

In another reversal, the State Department had originally interpreted the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling to exclude fiancés, saying they do not count as a close family relationship eligible for an exemption to the travel ban.

The decision will permit "grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States" to qualify as close family and should be granted entry into the country as exempts from the travel ban, according to CNN.

In his ruling, Watson touted the superiority of his own definition above that of the Trump administration, asserting: "The Government's definition represents the antithesis of common sense".

Consulates and embassies do not need to reopen any visa applications refused under the prior, narrower definition of close family members, the cable said. "That simply can not be", Judge Derrick Watson wrote in his decision on July 14.

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Watson declined to put his ruling on hold pending appeal, meaning it went into effect immediately. "By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for that of the Executive branch, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court".

"The Supreme Court has had to correct this lower court once, and we will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the Executive Branch's duty to protect the nation", the attorney general said.

The court, with only vague guidance, left it to the administration to decide what those close relationships were.

Last month, the Supreme Court set aside injunctions issued by federal appellate courts and said that portions of Trump's March 6 executive order could take effect.

In that ruling the justices sought to strike a middle ground balancing Mr. Trump's powers versus the rights of a select group of people in the U.S. Justice Department lawyers, though, said if Judge Watson is right, nearly everyone can continue to travel to the U.S. despite the ban. The administration has asked the Supreme Court and the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the decision.

Although the Supreme Court is not in session, emergency requests can still be handled.

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