Trump asks Supreme Court to block travel ban ruling

Doug Mendoza
July 17, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had said the administration would ask the Supreme Court to weigh in, bypassing the San Francisco-based 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled against it in the case.

It's the latest round in a legal battle that's now stretched almost six months, to the first days of the Trump administration.

The Supreme Court has given Hawaii until Tuesday at noon to file responses to the Justice Department's request.

The court, with only vague guidance, left it to the administration to decide what those close relationships were.

Previously, the State Department defined close relationships as limited to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, fiancés and siblings, as the agency claims that this has been set out in immigration law guidelines. Opponents were furious and Hawaii went back to the same court that had earlier ruled against Mr. Trump - and been overturned by the Supreme Court. But grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are excluded.

"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.

Watson's ruling could help more than 24,000 refugees already vetted and approved by the United States but barred by the 120-day freeze on refugee admissions, said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, a resettlement agency.

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"Grandparents are the epitome of close family members", the judge wrote.

Andrew R. Arthur, a former immigration judge and now resident fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, said under Judge Watson's vision, it would be hard not to qualify for an exemption because of the ease of finding a family tie that would be approved.

Hawaii has been challenging Trump's Administration in the way that it interpreted the ruling of the Supreme Court. "Judge Watson's order renders the Supreme Court's decision all but a dead letter".

The latest round in the fight over Trump's March 6 executive order, which he says is needed for national security reasons, came after the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which were blocked by lower courts.

But, the administration gained partial satisfaction in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it could proceed with its plan to prohibit the entry of some people from countries deemed risky, while still allowing visits by people with "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in United States".

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