Hawaii judge blocks new travel ban

A federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday issued an order blocking major parts of President Donald Trump’s newest travel ban, suggesting it violated immigration law.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu stops the administration’s travel restrictions nationwide before they were scheduled to take full effect Wednesday.

The newest travel rules, issued Sept. 24, indefinitely ban entry to the U.S. by most nationals of Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. They also restrict travel by certain Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Watson’s order — issued in response to a lawsuit filed by the state of Hawaii — a Honolulu-based mosque, its imam and two state residents who have relatives in the affected countries, stops the government from enforcing the new restrictions on travel from all of the nations except North Korea and Venezuela.

Challengers to the ban said it would hurt Hawaii’s state university system, which has students, professors and visitors from the blocked countries, as well as the Hawaii tourism industry. Individuals who sued said the ban would prevent their relatives from immigrating to the U.S. and visiting.

Government lawyers said in court filings that Trump’s travel order falls within his power as president and was written after a review of security vetting procedures for nations around the world.

The judge’s decision is a temporary measure while a lawsuit over the legality of the travel ban proceeds.
The Department of Justice, which has argued that the ban is needed to protect Americans from potential terrorism, is expected to challenge the ruling.

In March, Watson issued an order blocking a previous version of the ban in a case that, coupled with a similar one in a federal court in Maryland, was set for arguments in the Supreme Court. This month, justices canceled Oct. 10 arguments and dropped the case because the prior ban — which was temporary — had expired and was replaced by the new one.

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