Hawaii files court challenge on Trump travel ban criteria

Hawaii files court challenge on Trump travel ban criteria
© Greg Nash

The state of Hawaii on Thursday filed a court challenge to the Trump administration's limitations on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce a temporary ban against certain relatives. 

Currently, administration guidelines say that travelers from the affected countries can only come into the U.S. to visit spouses, parents, children, siblings or sons- and daughters-in-law.

Hawaii's challenge seeks to expand the exemptions to include "fiancés, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of people currently living in the United States."

“In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition," Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.”

The Supreme Court on Monday exempted people from the travel ban if they could prove a "bona fide" relationship with a U.S. citizen or entity.

The court decided to grant the Trump administration's request to restore parts of the travel ban, pending a hearing later this year. It also agreed to hear the government’s appeal of lower court decisions that prevented the ban from going into place.

"To prevent the government from pursuing that objective by enforcing [the ban] against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else," the court said.