Federal Judge Blocks Third Travel Ban

10/17/2017

A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a temporary restraining order blocking most of President Donald Trump's latest travel ban the day it was set to take effect. In his forty-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson wrote that the latest travel ban "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States'...". Judge Watson also stated that the travel ban "plainly discriminates based on nationality" in violation of federal law that prohibits discrimination based on nationality in the issuance of immigrant visas, in addition to being "antithetical... to the founding principles of this Nation."

Judge Watson's temporary restraining order only applies to Syria, Chad, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Iran. North Korea and Venezuela are not affected by the ruling, and travel restrictions for those countries will go into effect. The temporary restraining order will expire after fourteen days, at which point Judge Watson can renew it, convert the restraining order into an injunction, or let the travel ban take effect.

In issuing the temporary restraining order, Judge Watson concluded that the plaintiffs, including the State of Hawaii, the non-profit Muslim Association of Hawaii, and three individuals, were likely to win on the merits of the case and would suffer irreparable harm if the travel ban took effect. Specifically, Judge Watson wrote:

Plaintiffs identify a multitude of harms that are not compensable with monetary damages and that are irreparable - among them, prolonged separation from family members, constraints to recruiting and retaining students and faculty members..., and the diminished membership of the [Muslim] Association, which impacts the vibrancy of its religious practices and instills fear among its members.

The Justice Department has said that it plans to appeal the decision. Goel & Anderson will continue to monitor developments and provide updates. If you have any questions, please contact your Goel & Anderson attorney.

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UPDATE (10/23/2017): Judge Watson has converted his temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction. 

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