U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week that “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States,” as they are refuges connected to resettlement agencies and should be exempt from the Trump Administration’s travel ban.
Hawaii asked the court to “clarify” the Supreme Court’s definition of “bona fide relationship”. In the order on the travel ban, they agreed to hear the case when they return from the summer break and that parts of the ban could go into effect for nationals from the six countries impacted by the ban or for refugees who lacks credible “bona fide” relationships to a person or entity.
After the Supreme Court’s order came down, the government declared that only a “close” familial relationship: parents, children, and in-laws were included, while grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and cousins were not.
As a response to the Government’s narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court’s order, the travel ban’s challengers went to court, arguing that the government had gone beyond what the Supreme Court ordered.
On July 13, the Hawaii court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the government from applying the ban to the family members the administration sought to exclude in their interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling.
The administration is appealing the order to the Ninth Circuit and at the same time going back to the Supreme Court looking for additional direction. Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement the day after Hawaii’s ruling, arguing in part that the decision undermines national security and violates the proper separation of powers.
The Supreme Court has asked the state of Hawaii to respond by noon today to the president’s motion to block the ruling on bona fide relationships from going into effect.