President Trump’s latest version of the travel ban his administration has been trying to implement since the first days of his taking office has come to yet another halt mere hours before it was set to take effect. This third iteration called for the complete suspension of travel into the United States for individuals from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela in the interests of national security amidst the ongoing threat of international terrorism. The order was set in go into effect on Wednesday, October 18, but was temporarily blocked on Tuesday by Judge Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii, the same judge responsible for freezing the second version of the ban in March. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland followed up with another, albeit less complete, halt early Wednesday morning.
According to Judge Watson, the latest travel restrictions suffer “from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor”, namely that it “plainly discriminates based on nationality” in direct contradiction to the principles set forth by the Founding Fathers. He also argued that the Trump administration had not given direct evidence to support that this ban was in America’s best national security interests, in particular because they failed to show a connection between a person’s nationality and the threat they presented. Judge Chuang responded with a partial block of the directive by ruling that the administration could not enforce its restrictions on any individual with a “bona fide” relationship with the United States, meaning anyone with family members or a professional or legitimate engagement within the country. He reasoned that the president’s language both on the campaign trail and on Twitter had convinced him that this was yet another attempt at a Muslim ban and was therefore unconstitutional.
Ian Prior, the spokesperson from the Department of Justice, commented that the rulings represented a violation of the separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches, and that the Trump administration intended to appeal. This marks the third time that the government will have to go to court against the state of Hawaii in order to defend its directive. It is important to note that both of these rulings are only temporary and are intended to maintain order during the legal battle until the appeals court can make its decision. While Judge Watson’s previous ruling was upheld by the appeals courts, the government then appealed to the Supreme Court, which allowed the ban to go into partial effect.
New York Times – Judge Temporarily Halts New Version of Trump’s Travel Ban
Washington Post – Second judge rules against latest travel ban, saying Trump’s own words show it was aimed at Muslims