A judge in Hawaii delivered a setback to President Trump's travel ban on Thursday with a ruling that might sound unusual in any other context: Grandparents, he declared, count as "close family." The decision involves the White House move to ban visitors from six mostly Muslim nations, and it makes it easier for residents of those countries to reach the US by expanding the number of exceptions allowed, reports NPR. From now on, those with grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins in the US should be allowed to visit, the judge ruled. Previously, the White House argued for a far more limited group: parents, spouses, fiances, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and siblings.
The Hawaii judge, however, declared that "common sense" requires that "close family members be defined to include grandparents." In fact, "grandparents are the epitome of close family members," he wrote. "The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.” In another notable reversal, the judge said that people who didn't have family but only an agreement with a resettlement agency also should be exempted, reports Politico. All this comes after the Supreme Court allowed the ban to temporarily stay in place but provided exemptions for those with "bona fide" relationships in the US. The Hawaii decision is the first court case to try to suss out the definition of "bona fide." The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the larger issue of whether the ban is unconstitutional in October.