A federal judge in Hawaii has put President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on hold.
US District Judge Derrick Watson issued his ruling on Wednesday after hearing arguments on Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order involving the ban. His ruling prevents the executive order from going into effect on Thursday.
More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments on Wednesday about whether it should be put into practice. Hawaii argued that the ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and would prevent Hawaii residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six mostly Muslim countries covered by the ban.
In Maryland, lawyers told a federal judge that the measure still discriminates against Muslims.
Government lawyers argued that the ban was revised substantially to address legal concerns, including the removal of an exemption for religious minorities from the affected countries.
“It doesn’t say anything about religion. It doesn’t draw any religious distinctions,” said Jeffrey Wall, who argued for the justice department.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said that Mr Trump’s statements on the campaign trail and comments from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims.
Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have “the same basic policy outcome” as the first.
The new version of the ban details more of a national security rationale. It is narrower and eases some concerns about violating the due-process rights of travellers. It applies only to new visas from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the US refugee programme. It does not apply to travellers who already have visas.