Federal Judge Exempts Grandparents, Relatives

The Trump administration on Friday sent a request to the Supreme Court indicating that a Hawaii judge’s ruling limiting the scope of the temporary travel ban on refugees requires the “immediate intervention” of the justices, according to documents obtained by Fox News.U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu found the government can not bar grandparents and other relatives of United States citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from getting visas under the ban.Trump officials said only parents, children, siblings and engaged couples’ relationships qualified as “close” family. 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. It said the ban could take effect, but people with a “bona fide relationship” to a USA person or entity could not be barred.In another reversal, the State Department had originally interpreted the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling to exclude fianc├ęs, saying they do not count as a close family relationship eligible for an exemption to the travel ban. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members”, he wrote. “That simply can not be”, he added.Watson declined to put his ruling on hold pending appeal, meaning it went into effect immediately. He said grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and even cousins all count as “close” family and can not be blocked from entering the U.S.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”. “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”.In the court filing, the Justice Department said Watson’s ruling on refugees would make the Supreme Court’s decision on that part of the executive order “effectively meaningless”. The court also agreed to hear oral arguments in the fall over whether the ban violates the US Constitution.”Treating all of these relationships as “close familial relationship [s]’ reads the term ‘close” out of the Court’s decision”, noted the appeal. Jadwat said the district court was correct in its ruling, calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s attacks “misleading”.The opponents of the travel ban policy see the recent order as a victory. The justice was a late fill-in at the 9th Circuit conference for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who canceled his trip after his wife fractured her hip in Austria.The latest round in the fight over Trump’s March 6 executive order, which he says is needed for national security reasons, came after the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which were blocked by lower courts.