Judge extends block on Trump's travel ban

“We cannot fault the president for being politically incorrect, but we do fault him for being constitutionally incorrect,” Hawaii attorney general Douglas Chin

Judge extends block on Trump's travel ban

US President Donald J. Trump (L), with Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R), delivers remarks during an opioid and drug abuse listening session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. | Image: Shawn Thew/Pool/DPA/PA Images

A federal judge in the US is maintaining the broad ban imposed on President Donald Trump's revised immigration ban.

In a ruling Wednesday, US District Court Judge Derrick Watson converted the temporary restraining order he issued into a preliminary injunction in Hawaii.

The state argues that the policy discriminates against Muslims and hurts the state’s tourist-dependent economy. The implied message in the revised ban is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban’” that the government did not bother to turn off, state attorney general Douglas Chin told the judge.

Extending the temporary restraining order until the state’s lawsuit was resolved would ensure the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens across the US were protected after the “repeated stops and starts of the last two months”, the state said.

"The Court will not crawl into a corner"

Judge Watson rejected the Justice Department's calls to ignore President Trump's public statements about seeking a ban on immigration and travel from Muslim countries in order to fend off terrorism.

And while President Trump publicly referred to the rewrite as a "watered-down version" of the original order, it wa ultimately concluded that the Justice Department failed to highlight a bona fide difference between that and its predecessor.

"Where the 'historical context and "the specific sequence of events leading up to"' the adoption of the challenged Executive Order are as full of religious animus, invective, and obvious pretext as is the record here, it is no wonder that the Government urges the Court to altogether ignore that history and context," Watson wrote. "The Court, however, declines to do so. ... The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has."

“We cannot fault the president for being politically incorrect, but we do fault him for being constitutionally incorrect,” Chin said.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin speaks outside federal court in Honolulu. | Image:  Caleb Jones/AP/Press Association Images

Where do other states stand?

Hawaii was the first state to sue over Trump’s revised ban. The imam of a Honolulu mosque joined the challenge, arguing that the ban would prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting family in Hawaii.

President Trump has yet to make a statement on the latest developments, but an appeal to the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected. Last month, a three-judge panel of that court declined to disturb a Seattle-based federal judge's broad order blocking key parts of Trump's original executive order.