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Hawaii Judge Expands Family Allowed To Bypass Travel Ban

Jul 14, 2017
Originally published on July 14, 2017 5:53 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And some other presidential news - a federal judge in Hawaii has now expanded the list of family relationships that are exempt from President Trump's partial travel ban. Let's remember, last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could enforce an executive order banning travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. The exception, those with a credible claim of bona fide relationship with someone in the United States. As Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman reports, the list of who that includes is growing.

BILL DORMAN, BYLINE: U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson says grandparents are the epitome of close family members. In a ruling that loosens the Trump administration's partial travel ban, Watson wrote that the government's definition of family represents the antithesis of common sense. The ruling expands the definition of those with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship to include grandparents and grandchildren, along with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and even brothers and sisters-in-law of those already in the United States.

The challenge was brought by the state of Hawaii, which has been consistent in fighting different versions of the Trump administration's proposed travel restrictions. Earlier this year, state Attorney General Doug Chin argued the original travel ban proposal would have a chilling effect on tourism in Hawaii. That's not only the biggest part of the local economy; it's also a huge driver of tax revenue for the state.

In a statement, Chin said the latest court ruling, quote, "makes clear that the U.S. government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit." In Chin's words, "family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this executive order has no basis in stopping terrorism and is just a pretext for illegal and unconstitutional discrimination."

For NPR News, I'm Bill Dorman in Honolulu.

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