Hawaii judge weakens Trump travel ban

Hawaii judge weakens Trump travel ban
© Getty

A Hawaii federal judge dealt a blow to President Trump’s travel ban affecting six majority-Muslim nations on Thursday, expanding the list of exceptions to the executive order.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who blocked Trump's original travel ban in March, weakened the already watered-down revised version by saying the government could not enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-laws, sisters-in-laws, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins of individuals living in the U.S.

The Supreme Court said in June that the Trump administration could enforce the ban against foreign nationals, but not those with a “bona fide” relationship or entity in the U.S.

The court plans to examine the ban in full during its next session.

ADVERTISEMENT

White House officials originally told reporters after the ruling that foreign travelers from affected countries can only come to the U.S. to visit spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, adult sons or daughters, siblings, step- or half-siblings, or sons- and daughters-in-law. 

Hawaii asked a federal judge in June to clarify that the administration cannot enforce a temporary ban against certain relatives. 

Watson said the administration has a flawed understanding of the decision and expanded meaning of what a “bona fide” relationship is.

"What is clear from the Supreme Court's decision is that this Court's analysis is to be guided by consideration of whether foreign nationals have a requisite 'connection' or 'tie' to this country," he said in his decision.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government's definition excludes them. That simply cannot be,” he continued.

The administration originally reversed course over what it considered a close family member in June, allowing fiancés to be included in the definition.

The Trump administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.