US District Judge Derrick Watson has ruled that grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and other relatives should be exempt from the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which bars people from six Muslim-majority countries,
Watson also ordered exemptions for refugees who have been given formal assurance from agencies placing them in the US. Watson said the government’s definition of what constitutes close family “represents the antithesis of common sense”.
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson wrote. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could begin enforcing the travel restrictions, but not on people with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the US.
The Trump administration then decided to make exceptions for spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, fiances and siblings of those already in the country. However, they barred grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, The Washington Post reported.
The measure was then rolled out on June 29, affecting travellers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As part of the measure, officials could also block refugees with a formal assurance from a resettlement agency.
Judge Watson, in his ruling, also argued a refugee’s assurance from an agency satisfies the Supreme Court’s “bona fide” relationship requirement because of the formal, binding nature of the contract. “Bona fide does not get any more bona fide than that,” he added.