Breaking: It’s second in a row for Trump as Hawaii puts revised travel ban on hold

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A judge in Hawaii just blocked President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on Wednesday, March 15, saying that its implementation would significantly harm the tourism industry and the labor market in general.

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US District Judge Derrick Watson also stated that there is substantial and unrebutted evidence of religious animosity driving the declaration of the new order and its predecessor. His ruling has legally stopped core provisions of the EO from being carried out today, March 16, its supposed execution date.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed,” wrote Watson, “Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude…that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, 'secondary to a religious objective' of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims.”

Hawaii was the first US State to challenge Trump’s second attempt at banning citizens from select Islamic countries. Oregon, Minnesota, New York, and Massachusetts later followed suit on the same day, with California the last state filing a temporary restraining order on Monday, March 13.

In Maryland, the lawsuit against the ban was not lodged by the state itself but rather by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups representing immigrants and refugees. Judge Theodore Chuang also said that he would issue a ruling on the matter, though this could be a narrow one that doesn’t address the nationwide ban.

Watson also emphasized that Trump’s order could likely lead to a violation of the US Constitution, a deduction that could be easily reached by simply listening to the remarks publicly delivered by Donald Trump and his advisers on immigration-related issues.

While a district court scrapping a presidential order is not historically that prevalent, needless to mention successful, the US Constitution states that it can be done. The other government bodies that have similar power are the Congress and the president himself.

Watson’s decision could be summarized to his intentions of protecting the welfare of his constituents. The Pacific state has the fifth-highest percentage of foreign-born workers among all US states, and a staggering 25 percent of its business owners are born outside the US. International students had also added $400 million ($45 million in tax revenues) to its economy in 2016. Clearly, with 8.7 million tourists welcomed in 2015 alone, the tourism industry sits at the center of Hawaii's economy.

Of course, the administration believes that the district court ruling is erroneous and unreasonable.

“The department of justice strongly disagrees with the federal district court’s ruling, which is flawed both in reasoning and in scope. The president’s executive order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation’s security, and the department will continue to defend this executive order in the courts,” it said in a statement.

Speak with one of our seasoned migration lawyers if you have more questions about how this Executive Order might affect your visa application, or your ability to travel in and out of the United States. Follow us here for more updates on US immigration laws.