Trump’s new travel ban blocked

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

HON­OLULU — Hours be­fore it was to take ef­fect, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­vised travel ban was put on hold Wed­nes­day by a fed­eral judge in Hawaii who ques­tioned the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment that the mea­sure was mo­ti­vated by na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns.

US District Judge Der­rick Wat­son also said Hawaii would suf­fer fi­nan­cially if the ex­ec­u­tive or­der blocks the flow of stu­dents and tourists to the state and con­cluded that Hawaii is likely to suc­ceed on a claim that the ban vi­o­lates First Amend­ment pro­tec­tions against re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Wat­son is­sued his 43-page rul­ing less than two hours af­ter hear­ing Hawaii’s re­quest for a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der to stop the ban’s im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The rul­ing came as op­po­nents re­newed their le­gal chal­lenges across the coun­try, ask­ing judges in three states to block the ex­ec­u­tive or­der that tar­gets peo­ple from six pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries.

Trump, speak­ing at a cam­paign-style event in Nashville, Ten­nessee, ridiculed the de­ci­sion.

“The or­der he blocked was a wa­tered-down ver­sion of the first or­der, that was also blocked by an­other judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” the pres­i­dent said.

“This new or­der was tailored to the dic­tates of the Ninth Cir­cuit’s, in my opin­ion, flawed rul­ing … in the opin­ion of many, an un­prece­dented ju­di­cial over­reach,” he said.

Trump said it was up to the pres­i­dent, “who­ever he or she is”, to de­cide who should be al­lowed into the coun­try.

“For­tu­nately, it will not be Hil­lary she,” he joked to the au­di­ence.

“If he thinks there’s dan­ger out there, he or she, who­ever is pres­i­dent, can say, ‘I’m sorry folks, we got enough prob­lems,’” Trump said.

“You don’t think this was done by a judge for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, do you? No!” Trump said. ”We’re go­ing to fight this ter­ri­ble rul­ing … all the way up to the Supreme Court. Re­gard­less, we’re go­ing to keep our cit­i­zens safe, be­lieve me.”

More than half a dozen states are try­ing to stop the ban. Fed­eral courts in Mary­land, Wash­ing­ton state and Hawaii heard ar­gu­ments about whether it should be al­lowed to take ef­fect early Thurs­day.

Wat­son was nom­i­nated to the fed­eral bench by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2012 and is cur­rently the only na­tive Hawai­ian judge serv­ing on the fed­eral bench and the fourth in US his­tory. He re­ceived his law de­gree from Har­vard in 1991.

In Mary­land, at­tor­neys told a fed­eral judge that the mea­sure still dis­crim­i­nates against Mus­lims.

Gov­ern­ment at­tor­neys ar­gued that the ban was re­vised to ad­dress le­gal con­cerns, in­clud­ing the re­moval of an ex­emp­tion for re­li­gious mi­nori­ties from the af­fected coun­tries.

“It doesn’t say any­thing about re­li­gion. It doesn’t draw any re­li­gious dis­tinc­tions,” said Jef­frey Wall, who ar­gued for the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

At­tor­neys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump’s state­ments on the cam­paign trail and state­ments from his ad­vis­ers since he took of­fice make clear that the in­tent of the ban is to ban Mus­lims.

Trump pol­icy ad­viser Stephen Miller has said the re­vised or­der was de­signed to have “the same ba­sic pol­icy out­come” as the first.

The new ver­sion of the ban de­tails more of a na­tional se­cu­rity ra­tio­nale. It is nar­rower and eases some con­cerns about vi­o­lat­ing due-process rights.

It ap­plies only to new visas from So­ma­lia, Iran, Syria, Su­dan, Libya and Ye­men and tem­po­rar­ily shuts down the US refugee pro­gram. It does not ap­ply to trav­el­ers with visas.

“Gen­er­ally, courts de­fer on na­tional se­cu­rity to the gov­ern­ment,” said US District Judge Theodore Chuang. “Do I need to con­clude that the na­tional se­cu­rity pur­pose is a sham and false?”


US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump holds a rally at Mu­nic­i­pal Au­di­to­rium in Nashville, Ten­nessee on Wed­nes­day.

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