Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Travel Ban

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UPDATED JULY 20, 2017

District Court Ruling
Hawaii District Court Judge Derrick Watson issued an order on the evening of Thursday, July 13, 2017, modifying the preliminary injunction previously narrowed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Trump v. IRAP.

According to Judge Watson's order, the travel ban cannot be enforced against the following:

  • Grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States; and
  • Refugees who have a formal assurance from a resettlement agency in the United States or who are part of the Lautenberg Program

Trump Administration Response
On Friday, July 14, 2017, the Justice Department, through Solicitor General, Jeffrey B. Wall, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Hawaii, arguing that Judge Watson's interpretation "empties the Court's decision of meaning," because it includes "not just 'close' family members, but virtually all family members." The appeal also stated that "Treating all of these relationships as 'close familial relationship[s]' reads the term 'close' out of the Court’s decision."

The Justice Department also filed a Motion for Clarification asking the Supreme Court to clarify its ruling and provide guidance as to the correct interpretation of the Court's June 26 decision. The motion also argued that Judge Watson's interpretation was "deeply flawed" and asks specifically to clarify:

  • That the existence of an assurance agreement between the Department of State and a refugee resettlement agency as to a refugee applicant, standing alone does not establish a qualifying bona fide relationship, making the applicant exempt from the travel ban; and
  • That the Trump administration has properly interpreted "close familial relationships" to include only immediate relationships but not more distant relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

DOS released an important announcement clarifying that DOS does not plan on canceling previously scheduled visa application appointments or revoking visas issued before the effective date. For the Customs and Border Protection FAQs on Executive Order (EO)13780: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States, please follow this link.

What's next?
The Supreme Court could grant the government’s request for a temporary stay or they could ask the challengers to respond; either way, they are likely to act quickly. As of this writing, the Court has ordered the challengers to respond to the Justice Department's motion by 12pm on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

The Supreme Court will decide the case when it returns for the fall term, which begins the first Monday in October. Oral arguments will be held on Oct. 10, according to a copy of the court's calendar released Wednesday.  

Read our July 20, 2017, blog post, TRAVEL BAN UPDATE: GRANDPARENTS AND OTHERS EXEMPT, for the latest development on this issue.

If you are affected by this development or have questions about immigration and the visa process, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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