Trump administration asks Supreme Court to clarify travel ban ruling

Ruben Hill
July 18, 2017

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration's travel ban covering six Muslim majority countries and refugees should exempt grandparents and close family of United States residents. "That's what the district court correctly found and the attorney general's misleading attacks on its decision can't change that fact". The Trump administration has narrowly interpreted that language.

The Supreme Court said then that the ban could take effect, but that people with a "bona fide relationship" to a US person or entity could not be barred.

In its legal filing late Friday, the Justice Department said Judge Watson's ruling badly misconstrues the Supreme Court's decision last month.

Under the Trump administration guidelines, spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, fiances and siblings of those already in the country can be admitted. Sessions said in a statement that the administration would "reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court" in a bid to overturn Thursday's decision by a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The Supreme Court told the side challenging the travel ban to file a response to that request by Tuesday. 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.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled on Thursday that the ban could apply neither to grandparents of U.S. citizens nor to refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies, as the Trump administration had wanted.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who sought the broader definition, said Thursday's ruling "makes clear that the USA government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit".

"The district court's interpretation of this Court's. ruling distorts this Court's decision and upends the equitable balance this Court struck", lawyers said in the motion.

"Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough", Chin said. "Judge Watson's order renders the Supreme Court's decision all but a dead letter".

The Supreme Court allowed a scaled-back version of the travel ban to take effect last month.

He also ruled that potential refugees whose files have been shared with resettlement agencies in the US are considered to have a "close" relationship and must be admitted, despite the country already having hit the 50,000 cap Mr. Trump imposed on refugees this fiscal year.

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