Motion to Appeals Court
Issued on July 10, 2017

Policy Summary

On July 10th the state of Hawaii motioned for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to broaden the exemptions that the Supreme Court granted, while it’s deliberating on the fate of the travel ban. Hawaii’s bid is bolstered by endorsements from 15 other left-leaning states including California and New York. Hawaii wants the Supreme Court’s exemption to be expanded to all family members, arguing that failure to do so would cause undue emotional and physical hardship on American citizens.


The success of this motion hinges on the definition of what a bona fide relationship is. As when the Supreme Court decided to rule on the Travel Ban, it exempted those with a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S Citizen or National while it deliberates. The Trump administration then proceeded to define a bona fide relationship as parents, parents-in-law, spouses, fiancés, children, and children-in-law, thus exempting them from the ban. Consequently, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and siblings-in-law, would be subjected to the ban. In other words, Hawaii is arguing that arbitrarily exempting some familial relationships, while still enforcing others was not the intent of the Supreme Court, and thus should be corrected by a lower court.

Engagement Resources

  • Local Options for Protecting Immigrants – This document hosted by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights notes what steps local governments can take to protect immigrants against federal government actions.
  • Find a Congressional Town Hall Meeting Near You – Search by town and state or zip code to find a congressional Town Hall scheduled near you.  Voice your concerns about the Travel Ban and other Trump Administration policies directly to your Representative or Senator.
  • Immigration Volunteer Search – Search for immigration volunteer opportunities near you, and do your part to help those under siege from Trump’s policies.

This brief was compiled by William Lucier. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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