Federal Judge Won't Be Making Changes To Trump's Travel Ban

Hawaii objected in court to the Trump administration's interpretation of the Supreme Court's "bona fide relationship" requirement.
Posted at 10:25 AM, Jul 07, 2017

A federal judge in Hawaii won't be making any changes to the exemptions in President Donald Trump's so-called travel ban.

The ban went into effect June 29 after the Supreme Court OK'd parts of Trump's executive order. It temporarily bars certain citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The state of Hawaii, which challenged a previous version of the ban in March, objected again in court. This time it took issue with how the Trump administration was interpreting the "bona fide" ties requirement the Supreme Court had instructed it to use.

The Supreme Court justices said the administration can't ban "foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

The administration defined a "bona fide relationship" to include parents, children, spouses, siblings, children-in-law, parents-in-law or fiancés/fiancées. But it said other family members — like grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins — aren't close enough.

The U.S. State Department initially said fianceés/fiancés did not count as a "bona fide relationship." It later reversed that decision. 

Senior administration officials said they consulted the Supreme Court's decision as well as the definition of "family" laid out by the Immigration and Nationality Act to determine whom to consider close family.

U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson declined Hawaii's request, writing he wouldn't "usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court" and that if parties wanted clarification on modifications made by that court, they should take those claims there.

"This Court will not upset the Supreme Court's careful balancing and 'equitable judgment,'" Watson wrote.

A Justice Department spokesperson told CNN the administration is "confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will again vindicate the President" if Hawaii chooses to bring its claim to the highest court.