In the latest legal setback for the President, moments ago Trump’s latest attempt to temporarily bar new immigrants and refugees from six Muslim-majority nations was blocked by a Hawaii Federal Judge, pushing the young administration toward a second defeat on one of the president’s core campaign platforms.
U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson froze the order nationwide
As part of Watson's ruling, the Judge even cites Trump's own comments in blocking his new immigration order, saying they "betray the Executive Order's stated secular purpose"
As the WaPo reports, Watson was the second of three judges to hear arguments Wednesday on whether to freeze the ban. A federal judge in Maryland said he also could rule before day’s end after a morning hearing, and the same federal judge in Washington state who suspended Trump’s first travel ban was set to hear arguments starting at 5 p.m. Eastern.
The hearing in Hawaii came in response to a lawsuit filed by the state itself. Lawyers for Hawaii alleged the new travel ban, much like the old, violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it is essentially a Muslim ban, hurts the ability of state businesses and universities to recruit top talent and damages the state’s robust tourism industry.
They pointed particularly to the case of Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, whose mother-in-law’s application for an immigrant visa was still being processed. Under the new executive order, lawyers for Hawaii said, Elshikh feared that his mother-in-law would ultimately be banned from entering the United States.
The ruling means the 90-day ban on new visa approvals won’t be enforced beginning Thursday, as originally intended by the White House. According to Bloomberg, this time the ruling by the judge in Honolulu will almost certainly be appealed by the Trump administration and could reach the U.S. Supreme Court, just as many predicted would happen after Trump's original travel ban was blocked by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in February.
According to Bloomberg, the judge is one of three across the U.S. who spent Wednesday weighing whether to impose a temporary halt on the president’s second travel ban, which was tailored by administration lawyers to stand-up to the legal challenges that imperiled its predecessor. Revisions to the order weren’t enough to convince him that the ban was free of religious discrimination.
Democratic state attorneys general and immigrant-rights groups have led the charge to block Trump’s renewed push to make good on his campaign promise to curb immigration in the name of protecting Americans from potential terrorist attacks. Supporters of the order contend critics fail to understand the expanse of powers that Congress affords the president in dealing with matters of immigration and national security. The new order temporarily blocks visa approvals for immigrants and refugees from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.
Unlike the last time a judge blocked Trump's immigration order, so far there has been no tweet in response.