Hawaii to Trump: Travel ban criteria could violate Supreme Court order

Updated: Jun. 29, 2017 at 2:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is challenging the Trump administration's definition of the "close U.S. relationship" needed to avoid a travel ban for refugees and those coming from six majority Muslim nations.

New criteria for refugees and visa applicants from the six nations require a "close" family or business tie to the United States.

Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the United States.

The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticized as a travel ban on Muslims.

Now, Hawaii is questioning why grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered "close relationships" under the Trump administration's criteria.

The new rules took effect at 2 p.m. Hawaii time.

In a motion filed Thursday, the state asked federal district Judge Derrick K. Watson to clarify the scope of the travel ban in Hawaii v. Trump.

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

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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