A Hawaiian federal judge recently revised the ‘family relationships’ clause of the President’s travel ban. Less than thirty days ago, the US Supreme Court voted unanimously that the President had the Constitutional authority to use executive orders to impose a travel ban that the administration believed was in the best interest of national security. The travel ban restricts travel from six countries: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia. The only exceptions to the ban are travelers who have what the Supreme Court called a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the United States. The language was intentionally vague and received additional clarity from Hawaii’s Judge Derrick Watson.
The Trump administration’s initial definition of bona fide relationships included only immediate family members, such as parents or brothers and sisters. Pushing back against the administration’s definition, Watson argued that relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, and other blood relatives like aunts and uncles, should also be exempted if those people already live in the United States.
Hawaii made headlines earlier this year by being the first to oppose travel restrictions brought on by the Trump administration. The state’s Attorney General, Doug Chin, said that the state’s tourism industry would suffer greatly if travel restrictions were levied. Not only is tourism the largest revenue generator for Hawaiian residents and business owners, it also generates huge tax revenues for the state.
Attorney General Chin released a statement following the revisions made to the travel ban that states his opposition to the administration’s scope of the previous version of the plan. “Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this executive order has no basis in stopping terrorism.”
The revised ban will take effect immediately. While the original case addressed whether the White House had the authority to issue executive orders that it believed would protect national security, the Supreme Court will address the Constitutionality of the contents of the travel ban later this year.