In the latest court challenge to the Trump administration’s push to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from entering the US, a district court judge has blocked the Trump administration's third travel ban, which it had introduced late last month following the expiration of a temporary ban that had been hobbled by court challenges.
The decision from Hawaii-based Judge Derrick K. Watson – a recurring Trump antagonist who also challenged the last two bans - in Hawaii is sure to be appealed. But for now, at least, it means that the administration cannot restrict the entry of travelers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information the US wanted to vet their citizens, according to the Washington Post.
The Trump administration unveiled the updated ban late last month. The updated ban – which, like its predecessor, was purportedly designed to avoid a court challenge – abandoned wholesale prohibitions in favor of severe restrictions on travelers from an expanded group of eight countries.
The open-ended ban targeted people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela. It was slated to take effect tomorrow, according to Reuters.
When President Trump issued the third version of his travel ban in late September, the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments for two challenges to the policy's second iteration. They later dismissed one of the challenges to the March version of the ban.
The State of Hawaii, the International Refugee Assistance Project and other groups who had sued Trump over the March travel ban asked judges to block the ban, arguing that Trump had exceeded his legal authority to set immigration policy, and that the latest measure — like the last two — fulfilled his unconstitutional campaign promise to implement a Muslim ban.
“The ban, like its predecessors, delivers on the President’s longstanding promise to exclude Muslims from the United States, striking at the very core of our Nation’s founding values of religious freedom and equality,” those suing in a separate case in federal court in Maryland wrote.
“Unlike its predecessors, the new ban is indefinite, and potentially permanent.”
The block will most likely be challenged, and a final ruling will likely be issued by the Supreme Court.
Fortunately for Trump, legal analysts have said those challenging the latest travel ban face an uphill battle because the ban represents a considered effort following a lengthy back-and-forth with the governments of the affected countries. The new ban includes two countries – North Korea and Venezuela – that are not majority Muslim, weakening the plaintiff’s argument that the ban is discriminatory.