Trump Travel Ban: Hawaii Judge Places Indefinite Hold

FILE - In this February 3, 2017 file photo, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin speaks at a news conference in Honolulu announcing the state of Hawaii has filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban.

It also says the island state's economy would be hit by a decline in tourism. The implied message in the revised ban is like a "neon sign flashing "Muslim Ban, Muslim Ban" that the government didn't bother to turn off, state Attorney General Douglas Chin told the judge.

The Department of Justice opposed Hawaii's request to extend Watson's temporary order.

"The court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has", Watson wrote on Wednesday. Chin was traveling to Mexico for a western states attorneys general meeting and heard about the ruling while boarding a plane, said Deputy Attorney General Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Chin.

Trump's executive order has been criticized for targeting Muslim-dominated countries and called a "Muslim ban, ' an accusation the president has routinely denied".

If Judge Watson plans to extend his order, Justice Department attorneys argued that he could scale back its scope so that the refugee restrictions of the order could take effect.

Participating by telephone, Readler asked Watson to be guided by narrower rulings blocking only the part of Trump's executive order that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries.

But Watson rejected the argument.

The revised order removes references to religion, he said.

Judge Watson blocked the core provisions of the revised executive order two weeks ago, concluding that the order likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavouring Muslims, CNN said in the report. Readler claimed that Hawaii would not be affected by not allowing refugees entry to the country as only 20 refugees were resettled in Hawaii since 2010.

"Is this a mathematical exercise that 20 isn&'t enough? What do I make of that?" the judge asked Readler.

The government attorney replied that 20 is simply a small number of refugees.

"In whose judgment?" Judge Watson asked.

Hawaii was the first state to sue over Trump's revised ban.

Ismail Elshikh, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, has joined the legal challenge, saying the ban would prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting family in the U.S.

Trump's original travel ban restricted people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

"We can not fault the president for being politically incorrect, but we do fault him for being constitutionally incorrect", Chin said.

As the Two-Way has reported, the president sought to deny entry to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and suspend the US refugee program for 120 days.

The first version of Trump's order triggered protests at home and overseas as well as chaos at USA airports as people were detained upon arrival and either held for hours or sent back to where they came from.

Watson told federal lawyers who protested his ruling that "there is nothing unclear" about his restraining order against the ban. If the court sides with the federal government, it would not have a direct effect on the Hawaii ruling, legal experts said.

A hearing to consider a government appeal is scheduled to take place on May 8 at the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

"What a ruling in 4th Circuit in favor of the administration would do is create a split in authority between federal courts in different parts of the country", he said.

The case is State of Hawaii v. Trump, 17-cv-00050, in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.

  • Larry Hoffman