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The latest version of the Trump administration’s travel ban has been blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii, hours before it was scheduled to take effect on Wednesday. That means the ban, which had been announced last month, will not go into effect for now. The ban was meant to stop the entrance into the US by citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen along with some officials from Venezuela.
Judge Derrick Watson granted a request by the state of Hawaii to temporarily block the entry restrictions, saying that the ban “plainly discriminates based on nationality,” according to the Associated Press. In essence, the judge said the ban violates the Constitution.
The latest version of the travel ban added two countries without a Muslim majority to the list of nations whose citizens are for the most part barred from entering the US: North Korea and Venezuela. It also removed Sudan, which is majority Muslim, from the list. Still, Judge Watson agreed with the argument made by the state of Hawaii in court documents that the latest ban fulfills the president’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States.”
The initial ban was issued in January, and halted when a US District Judge in Seattle struck it down. The ban had led to chaos at airports, without any clear guidance from the federal government about how it was to be implemented. In response, the administration issued a revised order, which was also challenged in court.
The US Supreme Court has not yet heard the case on its merits, but in the interim allowed the ban to take effect with some exceptions. In that ruling, the Supreme Court allowed a partial reinstatement of a 90-day ban on entry by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. However, that ban as allowed by the Supreme Court did not include refugees or people deemed to have a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the US.
The decision by Judge Watson, who was appointed by President Obama, is temporary and takes effect while a lawsuit over the legality of the ban is still pending. The Department of Justice may challenge his ruling.
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