Courts and Pope Francis Say Grandparents are Important, “Close Family Members”

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“How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage so essential for each and every society!”  Pope Francis on Twitter

“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents.  Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.” Judge Derrick Watson, Hawaii District Court in defining that grandparents should not be exempt from those close relatives allowed to visit relatives in the United States from certain primarily Muslim countries subject to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

These two public statements were recently made to affirm the important role of grandparents in the lives of their families.  Pope Francis has long been a voice to honor and support elders and their role in families.     The remarks of Judge Watson were important in his decision saying that grandparents were important family members of foreigners in the United States who could visit their relatives.  The Supreme Court refused to overrule his decision earlier this month.

It was certainly unacceptable that the Trump Administration would not include grandparents as “close” relatives who would be free to visit family members in this country.   Of course, the Trump approach to foreigners has been heartless and discriminatory so it is no surprise that he and his administration would not have a perspective on the importance of grandparents who would want to visit their families who are far away.  Trump pushes the idea of “America First” but he obviously doesn’t support the importance that family is always first no matter where you come from.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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