Hawaii in federal court to challenge Trump's travel ban

Hawaii in federal court to challenge Trump's travel ban”

Other states - Washington, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and OR - have filed separate lawsuits against the ban.

Hawaii filed its lawsuit two days after the new ban was announced, arguing that the order violates the U.S. Constitution and would have a "chilling" effect on the state's tourism industry.

The state is challenging the travel ban on grounds that it unconstitutionally targets Muslims and discriminates based on national origin.

They argue the new version of the travel ban discriminates against Muslims and raises the same constitutional issues as the original order.

The ban, signed by Trump on March 6, bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

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Trump signed a new executive order last week banning foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and banning all refugees for 120 days.

In addition to Washington and California, states participating in the suit are Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon. Justice Department attorneys are also phoning in for the hearing.

The Department of Justice said it was reviewing the filings and would respond to the court.

Watson said he wasn't convinced the order itself has religious connotations.

At Wednesday's hearing, the judge will also hear arguments from the state on a motion to impose a temporary restraining order that would prevent the ban from taking place until the lawsuit has been resolved. He said he would try to issue an order later in the day, but wouldn't guarantee it. Chuang didn't signal which way he would rule, but did ask both sides to share their preferences for what he should do if he made a decision to block at least certain parts of the executive order.

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The states argue that the new order harmed state colleges and universities; has disrupted staffing and research at state medical institutions; has reduced tax revenues and is broadly harming the states' economies.

The new order, issued March 6, prohibits individuals from six countries if they lack valid USA visas. Indeed, Trump might even be looking to save face with this sheared down version of his previous executive order.

In the Hawaii filing defending Trumps order, Justice Department lawyers described it as a brief time-out for review of US terrorist screening measures.

A Syrian "John Doe" plaintiff living in Wisconsin successfully argued that the new travel ban is preventing him from reuniting with his wife and child who are now trapped in Aleppo.

"We assume that if a government action is struck down, the government should be allowed to do it better, and that's particularly true in an area like this where Congress has given the executive such broad discretion", he says, citing policies around redistricting and university admission standards that are sometimes found to have discriminatory intent.

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Should the federal courts decline to extend the current restraining order, and in turn allow the new ban to kick in at midnight, all eyes will swing to the main US arrivals ports, notably Dulles [in Washington, D.C.], JFK in New York, LAX in Los Angeles and O'Hare in Chicago.

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