Supreme Court Exempts Grandparents from Muslim Ban

July 19th, 2017

The Supreme Court announced today that it has rejected the Trump administration's effort to subject travelers who are grandparents or cousins of Americans to the president's travel ban on six Muslim majority countries.

Steve Choi, Executive Director of New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), responds:

“Today's decision reaffirms what we already know: Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions do not get to define what family means. This administration's attempt to divide families does nothing to make America safe. We will continue to fight for the principles that truly make this country great: opportunity and justice for all.”


Last week a federal judge in Hawaii ruled that grandparents, other close relatives and refugees should be exempted from President Trump’s executive order: a ban restricting access for travelers from six majority Muslim countries without a “bona fide relationship” to someone in the United States. That Friday the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to block Judge Derrick Watson's decision.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the Fall about Trump’s Muslim ban. The court upheld a portion of the ban restricting access for travelers from six majority Muslim countries without a “bona fide relationship” to someone in the United States. Guidance released by the State Department days later, defined the relationship to include parents, siblings, children, spouses, daughters- and sons-in-law. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents do not count.

In response to the enactment of Trump’s first Muslim ban, The New York Immigration Coalition led the #NoBanJFK movement, assisting travelers from over 20 countries and organizing hundreds of lawyers and volunteers. The protests at JFK sparked actions across the nation, including a rally held in Battery Park the next day, which drew over 30,000 people. In July, the NYIC was back out at JFK to monitor the situation and provide legal assistance if necessary.

NYIC also hosted a screening of a short film on the events at JFK, called “48 Hours of Resistance,” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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