Federal Judges Halt Revised Trump Administration Travel Ban

Mar 17, 2017

Addressing a rally in Nashville just hours after visiting the gravesite of President Andrew Jackson, President Donald Trump denounced as “judicial overreach” a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that placed a nation-wide hold on the administration’s revised travel ban.

Mr. Trump’s revised executive order would impose a 90-day ban on travel for citizens of six majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which had been mentioned in the earlier order, was dropped from the new draft, which also deleted a provision that would have prioritized members of religious minorities. The new order also exempted people holding green cards and visas.

Judge Watson, referring to Mr. Trump’s public statements as a candidate and as president, insisted that the clear purpose of the order was to target members of one religious group. According to Watson, “It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam,” the judge continued. “Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.”

Watson also criticized what he called “the questionable evidence supporting the Government’s national security motivations” and ruled that “the balance of equities and public interests justify” granting the motion for a nation-wide injunction.

Hours after Watson’s ruling was published, US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland imposed a temporary block of his own, insisting that “The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”