Federal judge temporarily halts third Trump travel ban

Federal judge temporarily halts third Trump travel ban
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A federal district court in Hawaii has temporarily blocked the majority of President Trump’s travel ban from taking effect.

Judge Derrick Watson said the third version of Trump's targeted restrictions on travel from eight countries, issued on Sept. 24, suffers from the same maladies as the previous order, which temporarily banned immigration from six majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Trump’s order, which was set to take effect on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., indefinitely banned immigration into the U.S. by nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela. 

Watson's order blocks all the restrictions except with respect to Venezuelan officials or immigrants from North Korea. He noted the state of Hawaii and the Muslim Association of Hawaii, which are challenging the ban, never asked for those provisions to be enjoined.

Watson said Trump’s third executive order “makes no finding that nationality alone renders entry of this broad class of individuals a heightened security risk to the United States.” He added that the order “plainly discriminates based on nationality” and contains "internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated 'national security' rationale."

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“Numerous countries fail to meet one or more of the global baseline criteria described in EO-3, yet are not included in the ban,” he said.

Watson used Trump's spat with NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem at professional sporting events to introduce his 40-page order. 

“Professional athletes mirror the federal government in this respect: they operate within a set of rules, and when one among them forsakes those rules in favor of his own, problems ensue,” he said. “And so it goes with EO-3.” 

Watson, a U.S. District judge appointed by former President Obama, also temporarily halted Trump's second travel ban. 

The case Hawaii brought challenging Trump’s previous order is still pending before the Supreme Court.

The justices canceled oral arguments scheduled for Oct. 10 and dismissed another case out of Maryland brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project challenging the previous 90-day ban. The court said the case was now moot because the ban had expired.  

But Hawaii’s case went a step further, challenging the president’s decision to suspend the refugee resettlement program for 120 days, which has yet to expire. That provision ends Oct. 24.

Updated 4:16 p.m.