WASHINGTON – In a back to back legal defeats, a federal court in Hawaii on Wednesday halted Donald Trump’s revised executive order temporarily closing US borders to refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries.
US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii, in its legal challenge to the order, had established a strong likelihood that the ban would cause “irreparable injury” if it continues.
‘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’ Watson wrote.
‘Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries,’ he added.
‘It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7% to 99.8%’ Watson ruled.
“It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam,” Watson added.
The judge made reference to Trump’s posture aimed at deciding immigrants on religion basis including a March 2016 interview during which the then president-elect said: “I think Islam hates us.”
“Mr. Trump was asked: Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself? He replied: It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who” the judge added.
The practical effect of the ruling is that the citizens from six-Muslim countries and refugees can now enter United States once again.
Donald Trump issued a revised and a relatively softer executive order banning entry of new visa seekers from six Muslim countries on March 6.
The major difference between the Monday’s executive order and the previous one was exclusion of Iraq from a list of countries who’s citizens were barred from entering US.
Trump decried the ruling during a rally Wednesday night in Nashville, introducing his statement as “the bad, the sad news.”
“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first one,” Trump said.
This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” he added, before pledging to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Trump’s tussle with judiciary began after a Seattle Judge put a halt to the earlier travel ban order issued on January 27. Trump administration challenged the decision and argued that the ban was justified taking the plea of protecting US as part of his ‘Make America great again’ policy.
However, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hurled a barrage of questions at a government lawyer inquiring whether the Trump administration’s national security argument was bolstered by evidence that people from the seven countries posed a danger to US.