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  1. Hawaii Federal Judge Enjoins Administration From Banning Muslim Grandparents of US Citizens or Refugees with Resettlement Agency Ties. Roger Algase

    Update, July 14, 8:54 pm:

    In reaction to the Hawaii federal District Court decision described below further limiting the scope of the president's six country Muslim ban order to permit grandparents of US citizens and refugees with ties to US resettlement organizations into the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

    POLITICO reports Sessions' statement as follows:

    "By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court."

    A reading of the rationale for the Hawaii District Court's decision, as quoted below, shows no intention on the part of that court to "substitute its own policy preferences" but merely to strike down an irrational distinction which the administration made, without any foundation, justification, or sanction from the Supreme Court, to exclude grandparents of US citizens from the list of relatives who are exempt from the ban for reasons that cannot possibly be linked to national security, but have everything to do with the often announced intention of the president and his openly Islamophobic top advisers, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, to keep as many Muslims from entering the United States as the courts will let them get away with.

    While this may not be apparent on the surface of Sessions' remarks, his own well publicized support (in a 2015 immigration "Handbook" for Congressional Republicans) for returning to the dark, bigoted days of the infamous 1924 "Nordics only" immigration act, also raises well-justified suspicions that Trump's Muslim ban is also just the first step in a wider administration policy aimed at major cutbacks in non-white immigration from all over the world.

    On a lighter note, if readers will forgive a brief aside from the immigration area, Reuters reports that Trump has now hired Washington lawyer Ty Cobb, who is said to be related to his namesake, one of America's most famous baseball players of all time, to take charge of White House attempts to deal with the cascading Russia scandals relating to alleged attempts to compromise our electoral system, among many other allegation of possible wrongdoing involving Russia by Trump or the people around him.

    Ty Cobb is no doubt a top lawyer, but what is his batting average?

    My original comment appears below.

    In a rebuke to the Trump administration's attempt to interpret the Supreme Court's June 26 decision temporarily allowing it to uphold parts of the president's six Middle Eastern and African Muslim country citizen's entry ban order ("Muslim ban", for short, not the misleading and inadequate term "travel ban" often used by the media and, recently, by the president himself) as widely as possible, Judge Derrick Watson of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii issued an injunction on July 13 which prohibits the federal government from barring grandparents of US citizens from entering the US pursuant to the Muslim ban on the grounds that they allegedly lack "close ties" with the United States within the meaning of the above Supreme Court ruling.

    The District Judge also enjoined the administration from enforcing the ban order against refugees who have contracts with US resettlement agencies. For the story and a link to the full decision of the Court in this case, Hawaii v. Trump, see:

    With regard to the ban on grandparents of US citizens on the grounds that a grandparent is allegedly not a close relative, the Court held that this interpretation was unreasonable and was contradicted by Supreme Court precedent. The Court cited the Supreme Court case of Moore v. City of E. Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 503-04 (1977) where the High Court stated that the:

    "tradition of uncles, aunts, cousins and especially grandparents sharing a household with parents and children has roots equally venerable and equally deserving of constitutional recognition."

    The District Court also cited a plurality opinion in Travel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 63-65 (2000), where the Supreme Court stated:

    "[D]emographic changes of the past century make it difficult to speak of an average American family. The composition of families varies greatly from household to household...In many cases, grandparents play an important role."

    Finally on this point, the District Court, in refreshingly plain language for a judge, stated:

    "Equally problematic, the Government's definition represents the antithesis of common sense....Indeed, grandparents are the
    epitome of common close family members."

    One could also legitimately ask whether distinguishing between grandparents, who are excluded, and parents in law or step relatives, who are permitted to enter the US based on the administration's definition, makes any sense whatever in an executive order that is ostensibly based on national security considerations.

    Has the president made a finding that grandparents of US citizens are more at risk of committing terrorist acts than in-laws or step relatives of US citizens?

    This only goes to show that it is not only the administration's distinction between grandparents and other types of close relatives that makes no sense, but that the entire Muslim ban order, on its face, makes no sense either.

    The purported rationale for the ban order was that the government needs to improve and refine its "vetting" procedures for immigrants from the six targeted countries. But reviewing and enhancing screening and databases for admission of foreign citizens is something that, according to government statements, is going on all the time anyway.

    Where, within the four corners of Trump's current six country Muslim ban executive order, or its seven country predecessor, is there any showing that the danger to America from terrorist acts by citizens of the targeted countries is so urgent and acute as to justify banning almost the entire population of these countries, comprising nearly 200 million people, from entering the United States while the "review" of "vetting" procedures (which of course will last as long as Donald Trump is in office as president - everyone knows that the "temporary" ban is only a cynical joke)?

    Even without looking behind the surface language of Trump's Muslim ban, as the proponents of absolute presidential power over admissions to the US argue that the courts lack the power to do, it is obvious that the ban itself, solely on its face makes little or sense at all - unless the fundamental objective is to prevent as many Muslims as possible from entering the US - including but by no means limited to grandparents.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 07-14-2017 at 09:42 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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