By Sebastian Modak. Photos: Getty.
On Wednesday evening, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a national order) effectively blocking President Donald Trump's revised executive order on immigration that temporarily banned all refugees and citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Overnight, another federal judge in Maryland also blocked the order from going into effect. Trump's order, issued on March 6, was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, and is a revised version of a previous order that was blocked by an appeals court in February.
The current version omits an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, a clause that some said favored Christian refugees; and removes Iraq from the list of banned countries—Yemen, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya remain. But even with these modifications, it did not pass initial legal scrutiny after the case was brought to the federal court by the State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. In the decision issued on Wednesday evening, Judge Derrick K. Watson of Honolulu's Federal District Court, an Obama appointee, wrote that "a reasonable, objective observer... would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose."
Much of what President Trump and his associates have said in the past—at rallies and in press releases and interviews—was submitted by the plaintiffs as evidence that Muslims were the target of the ban, something that the Trump administration has repeatedly denied. Among that evidence was a televised interview with Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York and a campaign adviser to Trump, the day after the first executive order was signed, in which Giuliani said, "When [Mr. 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." The judge's written decision also makes reference to Trump campaign [press release](https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration) from December 2015 that said, "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
President Trump used a scheduled rally in Nashville on Wednesday night to challenge Judge Watson's order—the Maryland ruling wasn't issued until after the rally—calling the decision "an unprecedented judicial overreach" and saying, "We’re going to take this as far as we need to, right up to the Supreme Court." In a move that could undermine his own efforts to distance the revised ban from the original blocked one, he also called the new order a "watered-down version" of the original order and said, "I think we ought to go back to the first [executive order] and go all the way." In a statement shared with [the New York Times](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/trump-travel-ban.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-ab-top-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0), the Justice Department called the ruling “flawed both in reasoning and scope.” As of Thursday morning, #BoycottHawaii was a trending topic on Twitter, with some using it to call for a halt on travel to Hawaii in protest of the ruling and others ridiculing the idea.
The temporary restraining orders, issued by courts in Hawaii and Maryland, do not amount to permanent rulings, and are expected to be appealed by the Trump administration. Its likely next stop? The Ninth Circuit District Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which upheld a restraining order on the original travel ban last month.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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