A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a nationwide restraining order to block the latest version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, stating that the order discriminates based on nationality and lacks supporting evidence to justify the measures.
A proclamation issued by Trump on September 24 bans the entry of visitors from Chad, Iran (except students), Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen. The president also ordered additional scrutiny for visitors from Somalia and banned the entry of some government officials from Venezuela.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday to stop enforcement of the ban, which he referred to as EO-3 (Executive Order 3). Watson said the plaintiffs in the case are “likely to prevail on the merits” because he believes the order violates multiple provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“[Executive Order 3] suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States.'” Watson said. “And EO-3 plainly discriminates based on nationality.”
The restraining order does not block the ban for citizens from North Korea and some officials from Venezuela. Those restrictions will take effect as planned at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, when the entire travel ban was set to take effect.
Responding to the news, the White House called the judge’s ruling “dangerously flawed” and said the order undercuts the president’s efforts to enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States. It argued that the travel restrictions were the result of an “extensive worldwide security review.”
“The entry restrictions in the proclamation apply to countries based on their inability or unwillingness to share critical information necessary to safely vet applications, as well as a threat assessment related to terrorism, instability, and other grave national security concerns,” the White House said in a statement.
The Trump administration is expected to appeal the ruling and – just as the second travel ban – the issue could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. “[We are] confident that the Judiciary will ultimately uphold the President’s lawful and necessary action and swiftly restore its vital protections for the safety of the American people,” the White House said.
Trump’s initial travel ban caused chaos and protests at airports until judges moved to block it, after which the president issued a second order to address some of the legal concerns. Judges also blocked the second ban, but the U.S. Supreme Court eventually decided to partially reinstate the order, which banned visitors from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
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