Trump's revamped travel ban halted

Published: March 16, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One as they approach Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One as they approach Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

HONOLULU, HAWAII: A federal court in Hawaii on Wednesday halted Donald Trump’s revised executive order temporarily closing US borders to refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, dealing the president a humiliating fresh defeat.

US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii, in its legal challenge to the order, had established a strong likelihood that the ban would cause “irreparable injury” were it to go ahead.

The court in Honolulu was the first to rule in a trio of legal challenges against the ban, which had been set to go into effect at midnight.

Decisions were expected later Wednesday from federal courts in Washington state and Maryland.

Trump signs new travel ban targeting six Muslim nations

The ruling means a nationwide freeze on enforcement of section two of the order, banning entry by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

It also halts section six, which would have suspended the US refugee admissions program for 120 days.

There was no immediate comment from the White House, which had argued that the travel ban is necessary to keep extremists from entering the United States.

The Trump administration’s wide-ranging initial travel restrictions imposed on January 27 were slapped down by the federal courts, after sparking a legal, political and logistical furor.

Trump signed a revised ban behind closed doors on March 6 with a reduced scope exempting Iraqis and permanent US residents but maintaining the temporary ban on the other six countries and refugees. The White House said those six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.

Trump signs new travel ban targeting six Muslim nations

But Watson rejected the White House claim that the order wasn’t a Muslim ban, ruling that it would not be a leap “to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam,” because of their Muslim populations range from 90.7 per cent to 99.8 per cent.

The judge made reference to several examples of Trump explicitly framing proposed action on immigration in religious language, including a March 2016 interview during which the then president-elect said: “I think Islam hates us.” “Mr Trump was asked, ‘Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?’ He replied: ‘It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who,'” the judge added.

In Greenbelt, Maryland, Judge Theodore Chuang was expected to rule on a separate complaint filed by a coalition of advocacy groups that the amended order discriminates against Muslims. “In his mind, the danger of Muslims and the danger of refugees is all combined danger,” Omar Jadwat, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said of the president.

New Trump travel order remains a Muslim ban: US rights groups

The first version of Trump’s order triggered protests at home and abroad as well as chaos at US airports as people were detained upon arrival and either held for hours or sent back to where they came from.

The Trump administration narrowed the restrictions in its revised order to try to ensure it would be unassailable this time around.

“This order doesn’t draw any religious distinction at all,” said Jeffrey Wall, a government attorney.

Questioned about tweets that Trump sent and statements he made during the presidential campaign in which he promised to enact a “Muslim ban,” Wall said: “There is a difference between a president and a candidate.”

But critics say the new order essentially remains a ban on Muslims coming to the United States, and therefore unconstitutional because it singles out people of a certain religion for discrimination.

Since September 11, 2001, the worst attacks in the United States have been committed either by radicalised Americans or by people from countries not on the Trump travel ban list.

Critics also argue that it will have a very negative effect on schools,  universities and the business world, mainly the high tech sector, which employs many highly skilled immigrants.

Trump administration considering separating women, children at Mexico border

The new battle against Trump’s order is being played out on several geographical fronts, but mainly on the west coast, which tends to be pro-Democrat.

The state of Washington, joined by five other states, filed a complaint Monday with the same Seattle judge who stayed Trump’s original travel ban in February.

Trump responded by insulting that federal magistrate, James Robart, calling him a “so-called judge.”

Robart will oversee the Washington state hearing on Wednesday and he could once again suspend all or part of the new order.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Monica Wierzbicki
    Mar 16, 2017 - 9:35AM

    Do not despair President Trump! Just another pebble in the road. You will overcome these radicals and successfully be triumphant. Time is the element. Where there is a will, there is a way! Always!

    Canadians are thanking you and continue the fight to support you and your efforts. Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Mar 16, 2017 - 9:36AM

    Why to have a US President, when all the decisions have to made by the Judges.Recommend

  • kemosabe
    Mar 16, 2017 - 10:26AM

    If these travel bans don’t pass muster by the courts Trump will only resort to much greater policing and enforcement of the current checks in place, much of which were enacted by the Obama administration.Recommend

  • Chacha Jee
    Mar 16, 2017 - 1:24PM

    It is time that FAT lady sings. Trump or no Trump, Muslim are not welcome anymore. It just a matter of time when a Muslim will do another
    San Berdino. It will be over on the courts too.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 16, 2017 - 6:35PM

    The Trump administration narrowed the restrictions in its revised order to try to ensure it would be unassailable this time around.

    A ban on account of religion is aginst the Americn constitution. The Trumpers are not used to taking ‘NO’ for an answer. This President has qualified himself and his newly appointed Attorney general for impeachment and dismisal.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Monica Wierzbicki
    Mar 18, 2017 - 2:18AM

    In Canada the Prime Minister is only one vote and then it is presented to the House of Commons, then the Senate and finally The Supreme Court of Canada.
    President Trump also has to follow protocol.
    It is not unusual for judges to reject but in time even the judge will submit.

    It’s all in the process! Recommend

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