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Hawaii challenges family rules on travel ban

Hawaii filed a court challenge today to the Trump administration’s limitations on the family relationships that people from six mostly Muslim countries need to claim to avoid a travel ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday exempted people from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide” relationship with a U.S. citizen or entity. The Trump administration had said the exemption would apply to citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S. The administration late today apparently also added fiance to the list of “bona fide” relationships.

Hawaii filed an emergency motion today asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against fiances or relatives not defined by the administration guidelines.

“In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition. Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling,” Attorney General Doug Chin said in a news release today.

Hawaii’s motion notes that the plaintiffs challenging the travel ban had asked the Trump administration after the Supreme Court ruling to indicate how it intended to implement the bans. The motion says the administration did not respond until the information was publicly posted, hours before the partial bans went into effect at 2 p.m. Hawaii time today.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson has not immediately issued a ruling on Hawaii’s motion.

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