Late afternoon on March 15, 2017 federal judge in Hawaii has blocked enforcement of President Trump’s revised ban on refugee resettlement and travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, hours before the executive order was to take effect. The decision has at least temporarily struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to pause all refugee resettlement for 120 days and block citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said his ruling applies nationwide. It appears to set the stage for a battle in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which last month upheld a ruling blocking Trump’s original travel ban. The case, brought by Hawaii Atty. Gen. Douglas Chin, argued that the latest travel ban would have "profound" and "detrimental" effects on residents, businesses and universities. In its complaint, the state of Hawaii also said the executive order discriminates against Muslims and violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers for the state also argued that the order illegally discriminates based upon nationality.
Few hours later a second federal judge issued an injunction on March 16, 2017 blocking enforcement of one of the critical sections of President Trump’s revised travel ban, using Trump’s own comments against him in deciding that the ban was likely to run afoul of the Constitution. The decision from U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in federal court in Maryland marks another win for challengers of the president’s executive order. Chuang’s order did not sweep as broadly as the one in Hawaii, but he similarly declared that even the revised travel ban was intended to discriminate against Muslims. He said those wanting evidence of anti-Muslim intent need look no further than what the president himself has said about it. Chuang’s ruling won’t upend or call into question the decision in Hawaii, instead offering some measure of reinforcement, and a different appeals court through which the government would likely have to pass. “The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban,” Chuang wrote.