Hawaii becomes first US state to sue over Trump’s new travel ban

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin speaks at a news conference in Honolulu on Feb. 3, 2017 announcing that Hawaii has filed a lawsuit challeging Trump’s travel ban. (AP)

Hawaii has become the first state to sue to stop President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Attorneys for the state filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Honolulu. The state had previously sued over

Trump’s initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country. Hawaii gave notice Tuesday night that it intended to file an amended lawsuit to cover the new ban, which plans to goes into effect March 16.

The revised executive order bars new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily shuts down the US refugee program. It doesn’t apply to travelers who already have visas. Hawaii’s lawsuit says the order will harm Hawaii’s Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.

The move came after a federal judge in Honolulu said earlier Wednesday that Hawaii can move forward with the lawsuit.

US District Judge Derrick Watson granted the state’s request to continue with the case and set a hearing for March 15 - the day before Trump’s order is due to go into effect. It bars new visas for people from the six predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily shuts down the US refugee program.

Officials in heavily Democratic Hawaii previously sued to stop Trump’s initial ban but that suit was placed on hold amid legal challenges around the country. The US Department of Justice declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The state will argue at the March 15 hearing that the judge should impose a temporary restraining order preventing the ban from taking effect until the lawsuit has been resolved.

Hawaii’s complaint says it is suing to protect its residents, businesses and schools, as well as its “sovereignty against illegal actions of President Donald J. Trump and the federal government. The order affects people from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. It does not apply to travelers who already have visas.

A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order halting the initial ban after Washington state and Minnesota sued. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the order.

While Hawaii is the first to sue to stop the revised ban, the restraining order is still in place and could apply to the new one, too, said Peter Lavalee, a spokesman for the Washington attorney general's office.

Given that the new executive order spells out more of a national security rationale than the old one and allows for some travelers from the six nations to be admitted on a case-by-case basis, it will be harder to show that the new order is intended to discriminate against Muslims, Tobias said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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