Derrick Watson
(Photo : Public Domain)
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson.

U.S. District Judge Derrick K.Watson ruled Thursday that grandparents and other relatives should also be allowed exemption status, in regards to the motion filed by the state of Hawaii in federal court to challenge the Trump administration’s definition of “bona fide” relationship and to enlarge the scope of those that can be exempt from the 90-day suspension.

Watson stated in his judgment that “grandparents are the epitome of close family members.”

“The Government’s definition excludes them,” said Watson. “That simply cannot be.”

In response to Hawaii’s earlier motion, Watson stated in his judgment that, “this court will not upset the Supreme Court’s careful balancing and ‘equitable judgment’ brought to bear when ‘tailor(ing) a stay’ in this matter,” denying the request to clarify what ‘bona fide relationship’ entailed.

“The clarification to the modifications that the parties seek should be more appropriately sought in the Supreme Court,” added Watson, claiming the Supreme Court to be the more appropriate place to seek clarification because it was the Supreme Court’s ruling to partially reinstate part of the travel ban.

This time around, however, Watson stated that legal assistance was imperative because the plaintiffs established sufficient charges.

The Supreme Court reinstated a part of the travel ban on June 26. Its ruling on two lawsuits against the Trump administration maintained a 90-day suspension for foreign residents requesting entry into the country from six specific countries. The Supreme Court stated in their judgment that suspension “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

An official from the Trump administration clarified during a briefing on June 29 that bona fide relationships “include parents, spouses, children, adult son or daughters, sons and daughter-in-laws, and siblings.” The transcript of the briefing shows that State Department officials later included fiances to be considered close family members, thus allowing them to be eligible for exemption.

Those who currently do not make the cut for exemptions include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and other relatives.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, tweeted, “U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians.”