The updated executive order bans citizens from six Muslim-majority countries – down by one from the first version.
The administration tasked Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, whose job is usually focused on arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, to defend the law in lower courts in Hawaii, the state of Washington and Maryland, arguing that the ban is not aimed at Muslims and doesn’t violate would-be entrants’ rights.
The revised order temporarily bars entry to the United States of most refugees as well as travellers from six Muslim-majority countries.
“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable”.
“I think it was an interesting ruling in the sense that the court is taking a very bold statement on saying that the actions in the administration have basically irrevocably tainted any effort to move forward with this travel executive order”, Fresco told VOA via Skype.
Watson’s restraining order applies to two key sections of Trump’s order: One bars citizens from the six countries from entering the USA for 90 days; the other suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Government attorneys countered that all references to religion have been scrapped from the revised order, and the judge should focus on its exact wording, which is aimed at preventing terrorists from infiltrating the United States. The ruling said that the state, which challenged the order, had proved its claims of religious discrimination would likely hold up in court when the order is fully reviewed. “The order he blocked was a watered down order from the first order”, Trump said during a rally in Nashville, while referring to the first ban that was also struck down. “Cutting some illegal aspects of President Trump’s original travel ban does not cure his affront to our Constitution”.
The “travel ban” was also in court in Maryland on March 15.
Like the Hawaii judge, Chuang cited Trump’s negative statements about Muslim immigrants during the campaign. This is a watered-down version of the first one.
“Hawaii is a place where people with different ideas, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities feel welcomed and respected. This travel ban is bad policy, plain and simple”, said Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii.
The New York Times writes that those lawsuits allege that Trump’s order is motivated by religion, which is a point his administration has denied while calling it “a straightforward exercise of the president’s national security powers, targeting not a religious group but rather countries that can not be trusted to screen travelers adequately”.
“In this highly unique case”, Chuang wrote, “the record provides strong indications that the national security goal is not the primary objective for the travel ban”.