Travel ban halted: reactions
Margaret Huang, executive director Amnesty International USA, says:
As long as this hateful policy remains, it will continue to be fought in courts while thousands of people and families are trapped in uncertainty. Congress can end this by passing legislation that effectively nullifies the ban.
This decision against the ban tells us what we already know: this is anti-Muslim bigotry falsely packaged as security. Hatred won’t make us safe. The ban must be repealed now.
Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates (which filed an amicus brief in the Hawaii v Trump case), says:
The country and the courts have spoken once again: the Muslim ban is wrong and is unconstitutional. President Trump should rescind this executive order immediately and start working on the real challenges facing this country.
The Muslim ban has encouraged discrimination against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. People with no connection to the banned countries are being stopped and searched at airports and having their trusted traveler statuses revoked just for being a Muslim, looking like a Muslim, or having a name that sounds Muslim. These policies and practices are part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to demonize and marginalize Muslim, Latino and other immigrant communities.
We applaud this ruling and will continue to work to ensure this temporary halt is permanent and the executive order is struck down.
Pool reporters with White House press secretary Sean Spicer have asked him for a response to the Hawaiian order blocking the travel ban.
Spicer said there is no response at this point, with the White House itself hearing about the temporary restraining order only as the news was breaking.
The judge’s ruling cites several comments made by Trump – put forward by the state of Hawaii as evidence that the travel ban is, despite government denials, a Muslim ban:
In an interview on January 25, 2017, Mr. Trump discussed his plans to implement “extreme vetting” of people seeking entry into the United States. He remarked: “[N]o, it’s not the Muslim ban. But it’s countries that have tremendous terror. . . . [I]t’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.” …
When signing the first Executive Order [No. 13,769], President Trump read the title, looked up, and said: “We all know what that means.” President Trump said he was “establishing a new vetting measure to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” and that: “We don’t want them here.”
Comments made by Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani have also come back into play. The court ruling includes this admission, cited by the plaintiffs as proof the ban is intended to target Muslims:
The day after signing the first Executive Order [No. 13,769], President Trump’s advisor, Rudolph Giuliani, explained on television how the Executive Order came to be. He said: “When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”
Hawaiian judge Derrick Watson concludes in his ruling that the revised ban is in fact not all that different to the original one:
Based upon the current record available, however, the Court cannot find the actions taken during the interval between revoked Executive Order No. 13,769 and the new Executive Order to be ‘genuine changes in constitutionally significant conditions’.
The Hawaiian judge behind the TRO was appointed by President Obama, AP reports. Expect to hear more about that from his White House successor:
The judge in Hawaii who put President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on hold was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama.
US district judge Derrick Kahala Watson got his nod in 2012 and is currently the only Native Hawaiian judge serving on the federal bench and the fourth in US history.
He received his law degree from Harvard law school in 1991.
His 43-page decision Wednesday was released less than two hours after the hearing ended.
President Trump is due to be speaking at a rally in Nashville shortly. Will he address the latest stumble for his flagship executive order? We’ll cover it here.
In the meantime, this is not quite the snap Twitter response we were anticipating:
In Washington state, which led the legal charge against the original travel ban and which continues to challenge the revised order, attorney general Bob Ferguson has hailed news from Hawaii:
Fantastic news. It’s very exciting.
At this point it’s a team effort: multiple lawsuits and multiple states.
The judge’s ruling makes specific reference to Donald Trump’s own comments, and their role in undermining the justice department claim that the travel ban is not a Muslim ban:
Hawaii ruling: key quotes
Here’s a key part of the Hawaii ruling (Dr Elshikh is the Hawaiian citizen, a Muslim, named along with the state as a plaintiff because of the alleged effects of the travel ban on himself and his family).
The ruling states:
Because a reasonable, objective observer – enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance – would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose, the Court finds that Plaintiffs, and Dr. Elshikh in particular, are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.
And a stinging rebuke to the government:
The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.
The block issued against the revised travel ban is a temporary restraining order (TRO), halting the implementation of the ban nationwide, but not permanently.
We can expect a push back from the justice department, which had argued that the revised executive order had tackled all the legal problems that led to the blocking (and then withdrawal) of the original travel ban.
And of course we’ll look out for Trump tweets.
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan has said he has “no doubt” the travel ban order will be upheld.
Hawaii’s US district judge Derrick Watson was one of several judges hearing arguments over the ban in the final hours before its expected implementation.
He had said earlier on Wednesday afternoon, after hearing oral arguments, that he would issue a written ruling before 6pm Hawaii time. It’s currently 1pm in Hawaii.
Hawaii was the first state to challenge the second version of Trump’s travel ban, after the first was halted by court order.
The state argued that the ban was unconstitutional, and that it would suffer damage to its local economy and to various educational and religious institutions. It also argued that some Hawaiians would be prevented from reuniting with family members swept up in the ban.
Read more on the background here:
Hawaii judge blocks travel ban
A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a nationwide temporary block to the revised travel ban that was due to be implemented from midnight ET – just five hours from now.
The new executive order – issued after the original attempt to bar travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries was halted by the courts – removed Iraq from the banned list but continued to bar for 90 days visitors from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
We’ll have unfolding detail and reaction on this live blog.