Hawaii seeks halt to Trump travel ban while legal challenge unfolds
The state of Hawaii asked a federal appeals court on Friday to issue an emergency order blocking parts of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban while the state seeks clarification over which parts of the ban can take effect.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month let the ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries go forward with a limited scope, saying it could not apply to anyone with a credible “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
The Trump administration then decided that spouses, parents, children, fiancés and siblings would be exempt from the ban, while grandparents and other family members would be barred from travel.
Trump said the measure was necessary to prevent extremist attacks. However, opponents including states and refugee advocacy groups sued to stop it, disputing its security rationale and saying it discriminated against Muslims.
A Honolulu judge on Thursday rejected a request by Hawaii to narrow the government’s implementation of the ban, saying the state should directly ask the Supreme Court to clarify its ruling.
Instead, Hawaii appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying in a court filing on Friday that the appeals court has the power to block the travel ban while it decides how to interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Every day that passes is a day when our government is turning away human beings — from newborn children to elderly grandparents…,” Hawaii wrote in its court filing.
A Justice Department spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Justice Department lawyers have argued that its definition of close family “hews closely” to language found in U.S. immigration law, while Hawaii’s attorney general’s office said other parts of immigration law include grandparents in that group.
The roll-out of the narrowed version of the ban was more subdued last week than in January when Trump first signed a more expansive version of the order. That sparked protests and chaos at airports around the country and the world.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)