Hawaii Judge Blocks Trump Travel Ban for a Second Time
The Hawaiian District Court blocked a revised version of President Trump’s travel ban hours before it was set to take effect. The ban, intended to restrict immigration and travel from eight countries — Chad, Somalia, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Yemen — has once again been shut down, causing another setback for the Trump Administration when it comes to immigration policy.
An earlier version of the highly contentious travel ban was blocked in March by the same judge, Derrick Watson, over accusations of discrimination. The previous ban, which did not include North Korea or Venezuela in its restrictions, was widely considered to be made as a way to keep Muslims from entering the country. Despite these accusations, the White House has stood by their claims that the ban is imperative for national security.
The newest version of the long promised travel ban included three new countries: North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela, as well as permanent restrictions on entry from citizens from any of the other five nations. In addition, Iraqi citizens were to be given more rigorous challenges for entry into the country.
A ban restricting immigration to the United States has long been a cornerstone of the Trump Administration’s public policy.
In Dec. 2015, the Washington Post reported that the then-Republican candidate Donald Trump said that he wanted a “total and complete” shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
Trump attempted to make good on his promise soon after he assumed the presidency. He issued an executive order that banned immigration to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen), just several days after his Jan. 20 inauguration.
The first iteration of the travel ban was quickly blocked by a federal district court in New York and was, eventually, ruled illegal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A second, more limited ban, was also shut down by the courts before it could go into effect.
The White House constructed the current travel ban in a way to circumnavigate the accusations of discrimination faced by its predecessors. As a result, many of the President’s highest officials expressed frustration that the ban was once again blocked in court. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the decision to halt the ban was, “dangerously flawed” and that the executive order, “would be held up in courts,” according to BBC World News.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also offered support for the President’s new travel ban. He said, “The president’s executive order is an important step to ensuring that we know who is coming into our country,” during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning. “It is a lawful, necessary order that we are proud to defend.”
Derrick Watson, the Judge who blocked the latest travel ban, disagrees. He wrote that the ban “plainly discriminates based on nationality” and “suffers from the same maladies of its predecessors” in his 40-page decision.
As of now, the fate of the newest iteration of the travel ban is now up to the higher courts. It is likely that the Trump administration’s appeal will reach all the way to the Supreme Court, who will decide the legality of one of the most restrictive immigration regulations in American History.