The Trump administration’s third try at imposing travel restrictions on citizens from eight specific countries entering the US was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday after the state sued in Honolulu to stop the president’s latest travel ban.
Judge Derrick Watson granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order on Trump’s revised executive order just hours before it was set to go into effect, saying the new immigration policy “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”
Back in March, Watson blocked the Trump administration’s second revised attempt at a travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries.
The executive order “plainly discriminates based on nationality” in a way that goes against “the founding principles of this Nation,” the judge said in his opinion.
Judge Watson, however, did not address whether the ban was constitutional but limited his comments to whether Trump had exceeded the authority of the executive branch to impose restrictions on those wanting to enter the country.
Other courts are currently considering challenges to the policy behind the ban. In Maryland, for example, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions in the president’s third executive order, according to the Washington Post.
While previous iterations of the ban focused on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, the latest ban targets two countries that are not Muslim-majority, Venezuela and North Korea—in addition to Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad—in the hopes of strengthening the government’s future arguments in court that the ban is not really meant to discriminate against Muslims.
If the administration’s ban does overcome court challenges, it will be far broader than the revised ban allowed by the Supreme Court over summer, which allowed citizens who could prove a “bona fide relationship” with family members or US entities, such as a university or employer US entry. The third ban does not provide for any such exception.