In a major rebuke to Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii has ruled that grandparents are “the epitome” of close family and thus cannot be banned from visiting their grandchildren in the United States.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court approved a modified version of Trump’s ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—but ruled that potential visitors with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” were exempt from the ban, including “close” family members of residents.
In implementing that ruling, the Trump administration determined that parents, spouses, parents-in-law, children, children-in-law, and siblings counted as close family, while grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and other relatives did not.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson rejected the administration’s definition of close family as “unduly restrictive” and nonsensical.
“[T]he Government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense,” Watson wrote. “Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
Watson’s ruling requires the administration to expand its definition of close family to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and siblings-in-law.
The administration has not yet said if it will appeal.