The State of Hawaii is asking a federal judge to rule that the Trump administration’s latest plan to carry out President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order defies the ruling the Supreme Court issued on the subject just four days ago.
In a new court filing, lawyers for the state and for a Hawaii Imam say guidance the Trump administration issued Thursday takes too narrow a view of what family relationships qualify to exempt a foreigner from the travel ban and would deny admission to refugees who should be exempt from the ban due to their connections to a U.S. refugee aid agency.
"This Court should clarify as soon as possible that the Supreme Court meant what it said, and that foreign nationals that credibly claim connections with this country cannot be denied entry under the President’s illegal Order," Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin and private counsel Neal Katyal wrote in a motion filed Thursday with U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson.
At about the same time the motion was filed, the Trump administration appeared to beat a partial retreat on one aspect of enforcement of the travel ban. Earlier Thursday, officials said fiancees would enjoy no broad exemption from the directive.
However, moments before consular officials were set to start limiting visa issuance under new guidelines, the State Department changed its website to indicate that fiancees of U.S. citizens would be able to receive visas as usual.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that portions of Trump’s travel ban executive order could go into effect while the justices prepare to hear the case in October.
However, the high court said foreigners with a "close familial relationship" with a U.S. citizen would be exempt for now, as would those with concrete ties to a U.S. entity, like a business or university.
Despite the ruling, the Trump administration said Thursday it would not routinely exempt relatives like grandparents of U.S. citizens from the visa ban.
Administration officials also angered immigrant advocacy groups by declaring that refugees would not be considered to have U.S. ties simply because they had already been assigned to a U.S. refugee resettlement agency that had begun to make plans for their arrival.