More bad news for the Trump administration’s plans for immigration reform. The revised plan that was carefully crafted to withstand judicial scrutiny has been blocked by a judge, just hours before it was set to go into effect.
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Trump, appearing at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, called the move “an unprecedented judicial overreach.”
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson came after Hawaii requested a temporary restraining order and prevents the new ban from taking effect.
“Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this Court,” Judge Watson wrote.
Hawaii took issue with the ban because the state saw it as detrimental. Residents would be cut off from visiting family members, the state argued. And the ban would restrict the state’s tourism industry. They also argued successfully that their ability to recruit students and foreign workers could be compromised.
Hawaii wasn’t the only state fighting the order. Maryland attorneys were arguing that the measure openly discriminated against Muslims, a claim supporters deny.
“It doesn’t say anything about religion. It doesn’t draw any religious distinctions,” said Jeffrey Wall, when he presented his case for the Justice Department.
Indeed, Judge Watson, in his ruling agreed. “It is undisputed that the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion. There is no express reference, for instance, to any religion nor does the Executive Order—unlike its predecessor—contain any term or phrase that can be reasonably characterized as having a religious origin or connotation.”
And yet, it was struck down anyhow.
“President Trump’s second executive order is just a Muslim Ban by another name”New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “with the same unlawful and unconstitutional goal of discriminating based on religion and national origin.”
The U.S. District Judge, James Robart, who stopped the original ban in February, is again hearing arguments related to this one. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has filed suit, but Robart has yet to rule in the case.
Robart has said he will, again, issue a written order, but has not said when.