Update: Hawaii District Court Expands Travel Ban Exemptions

July 14, 2017

The latest ruling regarding the Administration’s refugee-related Executive Orders was issued yesterday by a District Court in Hawaii.  That decision concerned the proper interpretation of the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that the travel ban (which covered travelers from six Muslim majority nations and refugees) could not apply to those with a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. 

The Administration had taken the position that “bona fide relationships” included only certain family members, limited to parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancés, children, adult sons or daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, siblings (whether whole or half), and step relationships.

 

The District Court rejected that very narrow interpretation by the Administration, and issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the ban against an expanded group of “bona fide relationships,” which it ruled also included those where: (1) a traveler has a relationship with grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins in the United States; and (2) a refugee seeking admission to the United states has a “formal assurance” from a refugee resettlement agency.  

 

Please note that the District Court ruling applies nationwide.

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