President Donald Trump has suffered another setback.
A federal judge in Hawaii halted Trump's revised travel order on Wednesday, only hours before it was set to go in effect Thursday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson was responsible for pumping the brakes on Trump’s executive order, which would have suspended admission of almost all refugees for 120 days, according to NBC News. It would have also restricted visas for nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries.
Watson said the travel order was discriminatory. The judge, whom President Barack Obama appointed to district court in 2013, didn’t make a ruling on the constitutionality of the executive order itself. However, he did say the state had a "strong likelihood of success on the merits" in attempting to overturn Trump's order based on religious grounds.
Here’s what you need to know, and why this whole travel ban issue matters in the long run.
The state said the executive order discriminates on the basis of nationality and would stop residents of Hawaii from being able to see their relatives who live in countries targeted by the ban. The state also said the ban would hurt its tourism industry and ability to attract foreign workers and students.
Public statements made by Trump laid the groundwork for the case that the executive order targeted Muslims. One such statement was made after he signed the first draft in January. Trump said he was "establishing a new vetting measure to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America" because "we don't want them here."
Watson also highlighted comments by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a prominent Trump supporter, who said in January: "When [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.'"
Hawaii was not alone in opposing the ban. More than half a dozen states, including Maryland and Washington, were trying to stop it. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told NBC News the Trump administration had no immediate comment.
Why this all matters:
There are several reasons why the travel ban matters, but most of them relate to U.S. relationships with the international community. For one, halting refugee admissions in the U.S. shows other countries that, at best, we will not take a dominant role in the refugee crisis. As the Brookings Institution think tank explains, the refugee system hinges on all countries sharing the responsibility of taking in refugees. The system doesn’t work if countries — especially a major one like the U.S. — don’t do their part.
This occurs at a time when the refugee crisis is only getting worse. A 2015 UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report found that 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution in 2015, which is the most since the aftermath of World War II. Additionally, 2016 became the deadliest year on record for the crisis. And this year began with 200 refugees drowning in the Mediterranean or freezing to death across the globe. In essence, the U.S. is passing the responsibility to everyone else — and doing so at a really crucial time.
Plus, one of our biggest allies has been taking in many refugees. Europe has taken in over a million refugees since 2015, according to BBC News. There have also been over 7,500 deaths that have resulted from migration to the continent. Europe would like to have U.S. help with this issue, but the travel order and Trump’s rhetoric suggest we won’t be contributing in any way. And remember: We count on Europe to participate in other areas, such as counter-terrorism and dealing with Russia.
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