Associated Press

Hawaii defends injunction of revised Trump travel ban now in effect

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Text Summit Staff

President Trump's partial travel ban on foreign nationals from six mostly Muslim countries has been in effect since Thursday afternoon Hawaii time and will continue until some time in October when the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh the constitutionality of the government's complete ban.

This after two executive orders, large protests across the country, several court rulings -- including Hawaii -- and what the administration is calling a huge victory from SCOTUS allowing the partial ban.

The partial ban affects those who do not have what is being called as "a bona fide personal relationship" with a person in the United States. The exemption would apply to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who have a parent, spouse, fiancé(e), child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.

It does not, however, apply to grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, or other extended family members.

"What does the U.S. government have against grandmothers?" Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin asked at a Friday news conference."Why is it that those people not allowed to come into the country? What national security initiative are we thinking about?"

The exemption to the partial travel ban would also apply to those who already have an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business. Those who already have visas previous to the enactment of the partial ban will be allowed into the country.

Early Thursday before the partial ban went into effect, Chin filed an emergency request, asking for clarification as to who can and cannot be excluded from the ban, and objected to the federal government's interpretation of what constitutes a "bona fide personal relationship."

At Friday's news conference, Chin said that federal district judge Derrick Watson of Honolulu agreed to consider his request, and that the judge has asked the government to respond to Hawaii's motion by Monday, July 3. The state will, in turn, answer that response later in the week.

“In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition," Chin said. "Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.”

Hawaii's motion also read in part that "The Government will also exclude refugees who have a 'bona fide relationship' with a U.S. resettlement agency—including refugees who already have a documented agreement with a local sponsor, and a place to live. And despite the Supreme Court’s claim that a foreign national cannot be blocked by the Order if he or she “credibl[y] claim[s]” a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person, the Government has instructed consulates to deny aliens entry whenever they are 'unsure' if such a connection exists.

“The Government does not have discretion to ignore the Court’s injunction as it sees fit. The State of Hawaii is entitled to the enforcement of the injunction that it has successfully defended, in large part, up to the Supreme Court—one that protects the State’s residents and their loved ones from an illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order.”

At Friday's news conference, Chin was joined by advocacy group representatives from the Muslim Association of Hawaii, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Japanese American Citizens League, Friends of Civil Rights, and Amnesty International.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won’t apply to the few remaining slots. But with SCOTUS set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

Dara Lind of Vox.com writes that "It is a near-certainty that, as soon as visas start getting denied under the ban, the U.S.-based relatives will claim the Trump administration has violated the terms of the Supreme Court’s order by implementing the ban even when it wasn’t supposed to, and there will probably be a profusion of lawsuits. The question is whether federal courts will side with families or with the government, and whether — with the Supreme Court out for the summer — various courts around the country will come to different conclusions and create a patchwork of interpretations of the ban."

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