Schneiderman leads brief in support of injunctive relief in Hawaii travel ban litigation

Sixteen Attorneys General Argue That Trump Administration Too Narrowly Interprets “Close Familial Relationship” – Harming States’ Residents, Institutions, And Economies

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Monday, July 10, that he is leading a coalition of 16 Attorneys General, filed an amicus brief in the Hawaii travel ban litigation, supporting Hawaii’s pending motion for injunctive relief in federal district court.

Last week, Hawaii filed a motion in State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh v. Donald Trump, et al. to clarify the scope of the injunction that partially blocks the travel ban. Attorney General Schneiderman led this same coalition of Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief in support of Hawaii’s first motion. While the district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined for procedural reasons to address that first motion, the Ninth Circuit observed that Hawaii could seek injunctive relief from the district court. Late Friday, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce, or alternatively, to modify the district court’s preliminary injunction. Today’s amicus brief filed by the coalition of Attorneys General supports that new motion.

“Since January, Attorneys General have been on the front lines – going into courts around the country and marshalling our resources to fight President Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban,” saidAttorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We’ll continue to do what it takes to protect our communities and our states from this unconstitutional, unlawful, and un-American ban.”

Click here to read the full amicus brief, which was signed by New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court left the injunction in place in part, preventing the enforcement of the ban against people with a close familial relationship to persons in the United States. The Attorneys General argue that the Trump administration’s narrow interpretation of “close familial relationship” – which excludes grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and siblings-in-law – improperly and arbitrarily excludes from the protection of the injunction family members who fall squarely within its meaning and purpose, in violation of the Supreme Court’s directive.

“Amici have a strong interest in plaintiffs’ challenge to this Executive Order because many of its provisions have threatened—indeed, have already caused—substantial harm to our residents, communities, hospitals, universities, and businesses while courts continue to adjudicate the Order’s lawfulness,” the Attorneys General wrote.

“In sum, the federal government’s restrictive definition of close familial relationships will result in the improper exclusion of numerous foreign nationals who have the requisite bona fide connection to person in the United States, despite the Supreme Court’s unequivocal holding that this Court’s protections for such persons remain in full force. Accordingly, this Court should enter an order finding that such a restricted definition is impermissible and either enjoining defendants’ violation of the injunction by their application of the unlawful guidance, or modifying the injunction to specify in detail the relationships within its broad penumbra,” the Attorneys General concluded.

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