Federal judge halts new Trump travel ban
16 March 2017
A federal district court judge in Hawaii issued an order Wednesday evening freezing the new Trump travel ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries. The order was handed down by Judge Derrick K. Watson, halting the enforcement of the order only hours before it was to go into effect, at midnight Eastern Time.
The Trump executive order would have suspended the US refugee program for 120 days, while halting for 90 days the issuance of new visas to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. All six countries are predominately Muslim, and four of the six are ravaged by US-instigated civil wars that have destroyed their infrastructure and sent millions into flight, either as internally displaced persons or as refugees. The other two, Iran and Sudan, have been the targets of US blockades and military provocations.
Two other federal judges were also hearing suits against the executive order, in Maryland and Washington state, and further injunctions against Trump’s Muslim ban could be handed down before the night is out.
It was the second time that a Trump executive order temporarily banning visitors from majority-Muslim countries and refugees from any country was struck down by the courts. The first executive order, issued January 27, was thrown out as unconstitutional and illegal by district courts in Washington state and Virginia. The Washington state ruling was then upheld by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers much of the western United States.
The hearing in Hawaii came after a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general, Douglas Chin, who argued the new travel ban, like the previous version, targeted Muslims in violation of the First…