WASHINGTON: A US federal Judge based in Hawaii on Tuesday dealt yet another blow to President Trump ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries, saying it appears to run afoul of immigration law.
Derrick Watson, the Federal Judge of Honolulu-based US District Court had blocked Trump second version of travel ban in March. On Tuesday, he again granted a temporary restraining order against the ban which was set to become fully effective from Oct.18.
The State Department confirmed that after the latest order, US embassies in Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen will resume regular processing of visas for nationals of these countries.
The Justice Department is certain to appeal the new ruling but will, for now, be unable to restrict entry of nationals from these countries. However, the court did not raise any objection to travel ban on citizens from North Korea and Venezuela.
The judge in his 40-page decision said that the latest ban suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor, referring to the previous versions of President Trump executive orders to enforce the travel ban. Judge Watson also wrote that the order plainly discriminate based on nationality and was against the founding principles of this Nation.
During the Presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump had angered Muslims at large and drew criticism from world leaders when he proposed to impose a complete ban on entry of Muslims to the United States.
He followed his election statement soon after taking charge of the White House when he issued the travel ban in January that covered seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. That order was blocked by several judges.
Two months later, President Trump replaced his first order with a new one, excluding Iraq from the list. The new order also clarified that it would not impact those who already have visas or green cards. However, in the second order, President Trump suspended issuance of visas to citizens of these six countries.
The second order was also blocked by the courts, but in June the Supreme Court allowed partial implementation of the order which exempted foreigners with family or works ties to the US from the ban.
President Trump issued his third executive order last month imposing various restrictions on the six Muslim-majority countries and two others, North Korea and Venezuela, which were added to the list
However, critics said that the two additions were just a window dressing of all the ban orders which were different variants of the Muslim ban that President Trump had first proposed during the election campaign.
Reacting to the latest court order, the Justice Department said it would definitely appeal the verdict. In a statement issued after the verdict, the White House described it as dangerously flawed and said it was confident that courts will ultimately uphold President actions.
Judge Watson wrote that President Trump order contain internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated ‘national security’ rationale”.