Federal Judge Extends Order Blocking President Trump ‘Travel Ban’

A federal judge in Hawaii is extending an order blocking President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries.

A federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday extended his previous ruling blocking President Donald Trump’s so-called “travel ban” that would have restricted entry to the United States by refugees and people from some predominantly Muslim countries.

Hawaii has argued the policy discriminates against Muslims and hurts the state’s tourist-dependent economy.

“The implied message in the revised ban is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban”‘ that the government did not bother to turn off, Hawaii state attorney general Douglas Chin told the judge.

The state was joined by a new plaintiff named Ismail Elshikh, an American citizen from Egypt who is an imam at the Muslim Association of Hawaii and whose mother-in-law lives in Syria, according to the lawsuit.
He argued that extending the temporary order until the state’s lawsuit is resolved would ensure the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens across the US are vindicated after “repeated stops and starts of the last two months”.

But the government says the ban falls within the president’s power to protect national security.

The Trump administration had asked Judge Watson to narrow his ruling to cover only the part of Mr Trump’s executive order that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries.

Department of Justice lawyer Chad Readler told the judge that a freeze on the US refugee programme had no effect on Hawaii.

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Hawaii was the first state to sue over President Donald Mr Trump’s revised ban.

The imam of a Honolulu mosque joined the challenge, arguing that the ban would prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting family in Hawaii.

Earlier this month, Judge Watson prevented the federal government from suspending new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and freezing the nation’s refugee programme.

Trump has vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently split 4-4 between liberals and conservatives with the president’s pick – appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch – still awaiting confirmation.

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