Federal judge in Hawaii extends order blocking Trump's travel ban

Hawaii attorney general Douglas Chin talks to the media at the USA district court Ninth Circuit after seeking an extension after filing an amended lawsuit against President Donald Trump's new travel ban in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 29, 2017.

President Donald Trump was barred Wednesday from enforcing his revised travel ban on six mostly Muslim nations while he defends it in a court battle that could stretch for months, perhaps years.

Watson's order Wednesday blocks Trump's travel ban until the state lawsuit works its way through the courts.

District Judge Derrick Watson heard arguments from the state attorney general and Department of Justice (DoJ) before making his decision.

Judge Watson's first order suspending enforcement of Mr Trump's amended ban was issued 15 March - a day before the measure was to go into effect.

The ban, if enforced, would suspend new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days, as well as freeze the USA refugee program for 120 days.

Watson rejected that argument, preventing the administration from halting the flow of refugees. The ruling blocked the travel ban but it was to last only a couple of weeks.

In an attempt to downplay the effect suspending the nation's refugee program would have on Hawaii, Readler said only a small amount of refugees have been resettled in Hawaii. Judge Watson determined that to be religious discrimination and a violation of the US Constitution. The Wednesday ruling granting a preliminary injunction means the portions of the Trump executive order targeting individuals from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as refugees, will be not be enforced until the case makes its way through the court system.

In the previous ruling, Watson, a President Obama appointee, cited several comments made by Trump and declared that the travel ban is, despite the administration's denials, a Muslim ban.

The state says the policy discriminates against Muslims, while the government says it falls within Trump's power to protect national security. Full text of appeals court ruling.

Andre Walker said, if it truly was a Muslim ban, the block would have included countries such as Indonesia.

The US justice department is expected to appeal against the decision to the US 9th circuit court of appeals. A judge in Virginia handed the Trump administration a victory, saying the executive order was within the president's authority.

Hawaii said the policy not only discriminates against Muslims, but also hurts the state's economy, which depends on tourists and worldwide students.

  • Leroy Wright