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Federal Judges Stop President Trump’s Second Travel Ban

GavelIn the wake of the Circuit Court panel upholding the stay on the implementation of his first executive order, President Trump issued a new order that was specifically drafted to survive the court’s scrutiny.  The biggest differences in the new order included the removal of Iraq from the list of banned countries, the removal of minority religions as a preference when deciding which refugee applications to approve, and the assurance that lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and foreign nationals who already held valid visas were exempt from the new order’s provisions.

However, this past week, a Hawaiian federal judge issued an order that once again blocked President Trump’s travel ban.  Shortly thereafter, a second federal judge, this time in Maryland, also issued an order to the same effect.

The Hawaiian Judge’s Opinion

In the Federal District Court in Honolulu, Judge Derrick K. Watson handed down his order, halting the implementation of the President’s new executive order.  In his opinion, Judge Watson stated that contrary to the President’s strategy in drafting the new order, any reasonable person would still take the position that the new order was issued in order to discriminate against those who participate in a particular religion or who are members of a specific religious group.

 The Maryland Judge’s Opinion

Similarly, in the mainland in Maryland, Judge Theodore D. Chuang expressed the same sentiments in his own ruling.  A group of nonprofits who work with and assist foreign nationals and refugees in the U.S. filed a case in Judge Chuang’s court, seeking relief from the executive order.  In his ruling, Judge Chuang echoed the thoughts of Judge Watson in that the President’s new travel ban was still a “Muslim ban” for all intents and purposes.

Both judges spent a good deal of time referencing comments the President had made during the election and his candidacy that repeatedly called for a “Muslim ban” and similar discriminatory efforts against particular sects or groups of people.

The President’s Response

In keeping with his current approach to those who disagree with him, the President loudly criticized Judge Watson during a campaign-style event in Tennessee this past week.  The President accused the judge of using “political reasons” rather than the law to decide the case, and he shouted to the crowd his belief that the ruling makes the country look weak to the rest of the world.  He went on to threaten to reissue the first executive order if this second order does not ultimately survive judicial scrutiny.  The President concluded his speech with his belief that the courts are acting with an unprecedented level of judicial overreach into the affairs of the Executive Branch regarding immigration, and he promised to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Additionally, the White House Press Secretary confirmed that the administration will be appealing the rulings of both judges as soon as possible.  Although the Hawaiian judge’s decision would go to the Ninth Circuit on appeal (the circuit that halted the first executive order), the Maryland judge’s decision would go to the Fourth Circuit on appeal, a court that is widely considered to be much more conservative than its West Coast counterpart.

Additional Blog Posts:

The Government’s War on H-1Bs, ImmigRantings, October 11, 2012

Obama Signs Immigration Executive Order, ImmigRantings, June 15, 2012

Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012