A judge from a federal district court in Hawaii has blocked Donald Trump’s revised travel ban restricting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, the Economist reports.
Hours before Trump’s executive order was to be implemented — on March 16, to be exact — Judge Derrick Watson executed a temporary restraining order nationwide that puts Trump’s revised travel ban on hold until a full trial has been made on the matter or a higher court lifts the order.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 16, 2017
Derrick Watson, who was nominated to the federal bench by Barack Obama in 2012 and chosen unanimously by the Senate in 2013, didn’t hold back from lambasting Trump’s new ban, saying that “the illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable.”
Trump’s administration claimed that the new executive order was not a “Muslim ban” because it was focused on the citizens of specific countries and did not mention religion.
Watson, however, wasn’t buying it.
“A reasonable, objective observer… would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavour a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose,” he wrote.
“It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent.
“It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.”
During a rally at Nashville, Trump called his revised travel ban a “watered-down version” of the first. President Trump issued the revised executive order a little over a month after the first one was barred in the courts.
His revised order lifted the ban on current visa holders but continued to block access to the U.S. for citizens of Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Libya, and Yemen for 90 days. The first ban included Iraq.
New travel ban same legal problems: 6 majority-Muslim nations Trump's on record intent: ban Muslims bless Christians https://t.co/vzlBjAuJ1I
— Shane Kite (@skribe00) March 6, 2017
The second order is similar to the first one in that refugees are still blocked from entering the United States for 120 days, though an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees was lifted in the new one.
Mr. Trump’s administration denied that the ban is religiously motivated, pointing out that the six countries included in the executive order represent only 9 percent of the world’s Muslim population.
Critics, however, said that the new executive order is still discriminatory in terms of nationality and religion.
Donald Trump’s new executive order faced an additional obstacle when a second federal judge in the U.S. blocked parts of the revised travel ban, the Independent reports.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 16, 2017
Judge Theodore D. Chuang said that both the president’s attempts at a travel ban, their differences notwithstanding, are discriminatory against Muslims for political reasons. The judge’s ruling cited some of Trump’s words during the 2016 election campaign in which he clearly said that he wished to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“Direct statements of President Trump’s animus towards Muslims and intention to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States, present a convincing case that the First Executive Order was issued to accomplish, as nearly as possible, President Trump’s promised Muslim ban. In particular, the direct statements by President Trump and Mayor Giuliani’s account of his conversations with President Trump reveal that the plan had been to bar the entry of nationals of predominantly Muslim countries deemed to constitute dangerous territory in order to approximate a Muslim ban without calling it one – precisely the form of the travel ban in the First Executive Order.”
Judge Chuang added that those who took legal action against the president’s executive order had “not provided a sufficient basis” for him to invalidate other sections contained in it.
“In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban,” he added.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]