It was reported this morning in The New York Times that yesterday a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order blocking President Donald J. Trump’s most recent executive order banning admission to the United States for people from several predominantly Muslim countries. During the night, a judge in Maryland issued a separate order that forbade a core provision of the travel ban from going into effect.
This is the second executive order issued by President Trump that sought to bar entry to the U.S. by people from several countries. The prior executive order issued on Jan. 27 was indefinitely stalled when a federal appeals court ruled that a stay on the order issued by a lower court remained in effect.
The latest executive order, which voided the first order, was issued on March 6 and due to take effect today, March 16. Citizens from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya were subjected to a 90-day ban on traveling to the U.S. Also, it suspended the entire refugee program for 120 days and limited the total number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in 2017 to 50,000.
As reported in The New York Times, Judge Derrick K. Watson, of Federal District Court in Honolulu, wrote in a 43-page opinion that a “reasonable, objective observer” would see the order was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”
Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland noted that the ban was a reflection of a Muslim ban that President Trump vowed during his presidential campaign.
Yesterday, a federal judge in Washington State also heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of the latest executive order.
At a Wednesday night rally in Nashville, President Trump called Watson’s decision “unprecedented judicial overreach.” The administration’s attorneys continue to state that the President is simply trying to protect national security.
The legal debate will continue as the President will continue to press for significant travel restrictions and nonprofit organizations and attorneys working with refugees and immigrants vow to fight religiously driven sweeping restrictions.