The state of Hawaii on Friday appealed a federal judge’s decision to leave Trump administration rules in place for a travel ban on citizens from six majority-Muslim countries. Hawaii asked the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals for an order saying the government could not omit grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives of someone in the US from the list of people who can still travel to the country. Attorneys for the state made the same request to US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who denied it Thursday and said the question would be better posed to the US Supreme Court. Watson put President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on hold in March, and the justices partially reinstated it last month. ”Every day that passes is a day when our government is turning away human beings – from newborn children to elderly grandparents – whom the injunction requires to be admitted,” attorneys for Hawaii said in their filing with the 9th Circuit. The justices said the president’s 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced pending arguments set for October if a visitor lacks a ”credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The court’s majority said a close family relationship in the US was required to enter the country and a spouse or mother-in-law would clearly be permitted. The Trump administration has said the exemption would apply to parents, spouses, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, fiances or siblings.
”Many felt the balance struck by the Supreme Court was nuanced and fairly reasonable, but the Trump administration has flouted the Supreme Court’s order from the start,” Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said in a statement. ”What happens in the next several weeks matters a lot if the administration is not subject to the checks and balances of the courts.”
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A US Department of Justice spokeswoman said the agency did not immediately have comment. The department said in a court filing that its list of people exempt from the ban ”hews closely” to categories defined by Congress. Hawaii also has challenged the administration’s guidance on the suspension of the refugee program and asked the 9th Circuit to order that officials should not presume visa applicants lack a close relationship with someone in the US.