A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration’s travel ban covering six Muslim majority countries and refugees should exempt grandparents and close family of United States residents. The ruling came down on Thursday, July 13.
Derrick K. Watson, judge of the Federal District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, ruled to include relatives and grandparents among those exempted from the temporary 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.
Moreover, Watson also ruled that refugees connected to a resettlement agency that has promised to take them in should also be eligible to enter the country, as reported by the New York Times.
The earlier ruling by the Supreme Court cited that the temporary ban could not be imposed on individuals with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
With this new decision from the federal judge, thousands of travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as refugees seeking asylum in the U.S., now have a chance to enter the country.
Previously, the State Department defined close relationships as limited to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, fiancés and siblings, as the agency claims that this has been set out in immigration law guidelines.
Hawaii has been challenging Trump’s Administration in the way that it interpreted the ruling of the Supreme Court. According to Judge Watson, the State Department did not correctly understand the order of the highest federal court.
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson stated. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be,” he added.