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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, November 19, 2017


Federal judge blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban

Federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - Delivering another blow to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, a federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the travel ban.

The decision by Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii, which is sure to be appealed, sets up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch’s powers to set immigration policy.

Judge Watson’s decision means that the administration cannot restrict the entry of travellers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information that the U.S. wanted to vet their citizens.

The ban was set to fully go into effect in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

It was aimed at barring various types of travellers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. 

Now, Judge Watson’s order stops it temporarily, for all the countries on the list except North Korea and Venezuela.

The 40-page long decision granted the request by the state of Hawaii, for a temporary restraining order nationwide.

Watson wrote in his decision that the latest ban “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”

The Judge also wrote that the executive order “plainly discriminates based on nationality” in a way that was opposed to federal law and “the founding principles of this Nation.”

Soon after the judgement, the White House said in a statement that Watson’s “dangerously flawed” order “undercuts the President’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States.”

The White House further said in its statement, “These restrictions are vital to ensuring that foreign nations comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our Nation. We are therefore confident that the Judiciary will ultimately uphold the President’s lawful and necessary action and swiftly restore its vital protections for the safety of the American people.”

Meanwhile, the State Department said it had instructed embassies and consulates across the globe to resume regular processing of visas for people from the six countries.

However, it would implement the order for those affected from Venezuela and North Korea. 

Ian Prior, Justice Department spokesman said government lawyers would appeal the judge’s decision in an “expeditious manner.”

Prior said, “Today’s ruling is incorrect, fails to properly respect the separation of powers, and has the potential to cause serious negative consequences for our national security.”

Meanwhile, Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said, “Today is another victory for the rule of law. We stand ready to defend it.”

Other opponents of the ban, Omar Jadwat, who directs the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and was involved in a separate challenge to the ban in federal court in Maryland, said, “We’re glad, but not surprised, that President Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional Muslim ban has been blocked once again.”

Trump’s second travel ban, inked in March, which barred the entry of citizens from six Muslim majority countries and refugees from everywhere was earlier set to be argued before the Supreme Court.

However, a key portion of that ban expired and Trump issued his latest ban before the hearing.

This prompted the justices to remove oral arguments from the calendar - but they later dismissed one of the challenges to the March version of the ban.

Commenting on the new ban, the challengers in Hawaii wrote, “It exceeds the limits on the President’s exclusion authority that have been recognized for nearly a century, by supplanting Congress’s immigration policies with the President’s own unilateral and indefinite ban. And it continues to effectuate the President’s unrepudiated promise to exclude Muslims from the United States.”

Hawaii had asked a judge to block the ban with respect to all the Muslim majority countries.

However, the state’s lawyers did not challenge the measures imposed against Venezuela and North Korea.

While Judge Watson did not address whether the ban was constitutional; he limited his analysis to whether Trump had exceeded the authority that Congress has given the president to impose restrictions on those wanting to enter the United States. 

He said that it was of particular concern that officials seemed to treat someone’s nationality as an indicator of the threat they pose — without providing evidence of a connection between the two.

Judge Watson said the order did “not reveal why existing law is insufficient to address the President’s described concerns,” and it was internally flawed.


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