Another Federal Judge Blocks President Trump’s Latest Travel Ban

Oct 18, 2017

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One day before the latest iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban was to take effect, a federal judge in Maryland granted an injunction blocking it, saying it was clearly targeted toward Muslims. The Maryland injunction comes on the heels of a similar one issued by a federal judge in Hawaii. The ban was to take effect just hours later.

“The record provides strong indications that national security is not the primary purpose of the travel ban,” US District Court judge Theodore D. Chuang wrote. “The fact that the White House took the highly irregular step of first introducing the travel ban without receiving the input and judgment of relevant national security agencies strongly suggests that the religious purpose was primary, and the national security purpose, even if legitimate, is a secondary post hoc rationale.”

Chuang’s injunction, which is effective nationwide, specifically applies to the part of the executive order that forbade entry to the US by citizens of the Muslim-majority countries of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Both judges’ injunctions still allow the ban to bar citizens of North Korea and some Venezuelans.

To support his decision, Chuang cited Trump campaign literature that promised to stop Muslim immigration and the president’s own description of the Presidential Proclamation 9645 as a “travel ban.”

The executive order, issued Sept. 24, is the administration’s second take on a sweeping travel ban that critics call unconstitutional and anti-Muslim and that supporters insist is necessary for national security.

The first travel ban was met with a number of legal challenges and was blocked by judges of the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, going into effect for 90 days in a drastically toned-down form after a Supreme Court review. The second travel ban was modified and resurrected on the same day the first, neutered ban was to expire. Among other tweaks, it added North Korean and Venezuelan citizens to the ban list to address the criticisms of anti-Muslim bias.

Chuang’s and, in Hawaii, US District Court judge Derrick Watson’s objections to the second ban indicate that it will likely face the same legal roadblocks as the first.

Part of the first paragraph was edited to reflect how closely the Maryland ruling came before the travel order was to go into effect. 

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