A federal judge in Hawaii on Thursday delivered the latest blow to President Trump's travel ban case since the U.S. Supreme Court had decided in June it would legally review the directives of the ban. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson diluted Trump's travel ban expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to enter the U.S. He ordered the government not to bar grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of American citizens from coming into the U.S.
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents,” Watson said in his ruling. “Indeed grandparents are the epitome of close family members.”
Watson's ruling broadens the definition of "bona fide" relationship--one that the Trump administration had previously defined as including parents, spouses, fiances, sons, daughters, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, and siblings.
Trump's travel ban has undergone several revisions since it was introduced earlier in January. By electing to hear arguments about the ban in October, the Supreme Court allowed certain directives of Trump's most recent travel ban to move forward, including the tightening of visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen.
In the Thursday ruling, the judge also determined that the government may not exclude refugees who already have formal assurance and promise of placement services from a resettlement agency in the U.S.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who represents the state as the plaintiff in the case, said the court made clear "that the U.S. government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit."
“Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough,” he added.
However, relationships created for purposes of circumventing the travel ban will not be accepted.
The narrowed interpretation of "bona fide" by the Trump administration sparked the creation of @BannedGrandmas on Instagram.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.