People commuting in airport

Hawaii Fights for Exceptions to Trump Travel Ban

The reinstated “Muslim Travel Ban” of the Trump White House has had varying affects on travel to and from the middle east over the last several months. Much of the chaos and confusion comes from a lack of knowledge, as well as the administration’s broad strokes regarding the ban, and the administration’s hostility toward immigrants overall.

Currently, the Supreme Court of the United States has reinstated the travel ban with a more limited scope, allowing people who have “bona fide” connections to the United States. “Bona fide relationship,” in this case, meant parents, spouses, fiancees, siblings and children, but did not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins from the affected countries. These countries currently include Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The guise of “fighting terrorism” and “exempting extremism” from entering the United States means disallowing relationships across oceans. Until recently, grandparents cannot visit their grandchildren in the United States, straining familial relationships and causing distress to immigrant families.

Hawaii, which helped strike down the original travel ban, challenged the Supreme Court’s decision and prevailed. The Supreme Court’s order leaves in place the action of a U.S. District Court judge in Hawaii who broadened the definition of close family to include categories such as the grandparents and cousins of a person in the U.S.

One of the many ways to protect yourself and your family is documentation. If you have been waiting to file paperwork or get things in order, now is the time to start the process. The more organized you are, the better case you can make for proving “bona fide relationships.” It is unclear how Trump’s new immigration plan will shape the travel ban.

Additionally, have a plan in place to see family. If you are able, consider scheduling travel for a grandparent for a year from now, giving you enough time to work on paperwork and filing exceptions for family to visit.

Right now, this process can feel treacherous, but there is hope on the horizon. Hawaii is attempting to appeal the decision once again, and you can arm yourself with the knowledge presented here about the future of the travel ban.

Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During over 20 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families move to the United States. You can Ask Henry a question at or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels. For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: (407) 512-9919. Our first consultation is complimentary.