The ‘Ban’ Played On With Grams, Gramps
The headline in a recent Washington Post article read, “Supreme Court allows Trump travel ban enforcement, but says it must allow broader exemptions for relatives.”
The article continued: “The court’s terse order means the administration cannot impose a blanket prohibition on people from those countries who have grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives in the United States. The Trump administration has advanced a stricter interpretation of what kind of family relationships could entitle a person to receive a U.S. visa, but a lower court in Hawai‘i ruled that the criteria were too tight.”
The win goes to the State of Hawai‘i, its attorney general, Doug Chin, and to all the grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren.
And there’s one other winner: U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson of Hawai‘i, who ruled against the “narrowly defined list” of exemptions offered by the Trump administration.
“Common sense,” Watson wrote, “dictates that close include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”
I concur, as did six of the nine Supremes. I would argue, not from precedent or original intent of the Founding Fathers, but from Hawai‘i’s history and my own recent experience with 9-week-old Mika La Fleur.
She’s my wife Gloria’s (aka “the high-strung Filipina”) and - uct of our daughter Erin and our son-in-law, Ray.
I had lobbied hard for the name Danielle, but lost. No matter my yearnings for immortality, Mika is, unquestionably, the most beautiful baby in the history of humankind.
How do I know this to be true? Well, by the response of the dozens and dozens of friends, colleagues and total strangers to whom I have shown dozens and dozens of pictures of Mika. That is a huge sample, and the result is un
And what is that response? “How cute!” Or, “So cute!” Or, “What a beautiful baby!” Further proof: At the recent 95th birthday party for her great-grandmother Phyllis Constantino, Mika absolutely owned the party. Every- one wanted a turn at holding her, touching her baby skin and kissing her cheek. Mika seemed to relish it all.
And the “common sense” of grandparents constituting close family is somehow lost on the Trumpians. That 95-year-old birthday girl and her late husband Ben Constantino brought up our kids, Erin and older brother Peter, damned near as much her parents did. They babysat while Glo and I taught school.
Both children adored their grandparents, following Ben or puttered; basking in the warmth and good food provided by Phyllis.
Now with Mika, their child Glo simply glows. She’s taken over the role as grandparent babysitter — feeding, changing, dressing and watching over the sleeping child.
Grandparents as babysitters in Hawai‘i is an old, old story. Where parents must work to pay the Island’s exorbitant costs, retired grandparents watch the babies. They can be seen everywhere, pushing their grandchildren at the mall, picking them up from preschool. For a few years at least, they are the glue that keeps the family whole.
So Hawai‘i’s attorney general and a Hawai‘i boy as federal judge stood for the nation of grandparents, and won.
The author’s wife Gloria, pictured here with their first grandchild Mika, has relished her new role, proving that grandparents are ‘close family members,’ despite the Trump administration’s definition of the term.