The court system remains busy with challenges to President
Donald Trump's attempts to block certain travelers from entering the U.S. Federal district courts in Hawaii and Maryland have issued restraining orders to
block the third version of Trump's travel ban. This occurred Tuesday,
a day before the president's proclamation was scheduled to go into effect.
This third travel ban affects travel from Chad, Iran, Libya,
Somalia, Syria, Yemen and—new to the 3.0 version—North Korea and Venezuela. Federal
District Judge Derrick Watson out of Hawaii said the latest travel ban, which
was issued Sept. 25 and scheduled to go into effect Oct. 18, fails to prove
that entry into the U.S. of nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria
and Yemen would hurt the U.S. Watson's order allows the ban on travel into the
U.S. by North Koreans and the small group of Venezuelans cited in Trump's order. Later on Tuesday, Federal District Judge Theodore Chuang lssued a similar but narrower ruling, allowing the ban to remain on North Koreans and the select group of Venezuelans. Unlike Watson's order, Chuang's lets stand a ban on those travelers from the other countries listed in Trump's proclamation who cannot prove a bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity, such as a business or university.
Whether Trump was trying, by adding those two countries, to
prove that his travel bans are not focused on Muslims, Watson blocked
enforcement of the ban on the Muslim-majority countries. He said the
proclamation does not prove that nationality makes a country's citizens a
larger risk to the U.S. Chuang said Trump's latest version does not show that it's impossible to maintain national security without an eight-country ban.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, in a statement responding to Watson's ruling, said the countries
in the third travel ban are included based on an "inability or
unwillingness to share critical information necessary to safely vet
applications, as well as a threat assessment related to terrorism, instability
and other grave national security concerns."
Watson's decision also said Trump's latest ban doesn't
"explain why some types of visitors from a particular country are banned,
while others are not." Additionally, he indicated that existing laws
should address the president's concerns.
Another case that originated in Watson's court,
a challenge to the second travel ban, went into limbo on the Supreme Court's
docket when Trump issued the latest ban. That case challenges the part of the second
ban that blocks refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. However, the
120-day period expires Oct. 24, making the case moot.
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 18, 3:45 p.m. to include news of Judge Theodore Chuang's ruling, which came later in the day than Judge Derrick Watson's.