Donald Trump travel ban: Second federal judge in Maryland blocks parts of revised executive order

Judge in Maryland quotes the President's own words from 2016 election campaign as evidence of discrimination

Harry Cockburn
Thursday 16 March 2017 11:29 GMT
The federal court ruling said the President’s previous remarks pointed to a plan to 'approximate a Muslim ban without calling it one'
The federal court ruling said the President’s previous remarks pointed to a plan to 'approximate a Muslim ban without calling it one' (AP)

A second federal judge in the US has blocked parts of Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.

The move follows a nationwide block on the executive order by a judge in Hawaii, hours before it was due to take effect.

The latest impediment to Mr Trump’s travel ban, which is designed to prevent citizens from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the US, comes from a federal court in Maryland.

Judge Theodore D Chuang ruled that the purpose of the President’s first travel ban and also his revised travel ban was to discriminate against Muslims for political reasons, and the ruling cited Mr Trump’s own words against him.

The ruling quotes extensively from Mr Trump’s 2016 election campaign, in which he said he wished to implement a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

“We’re having problems with Muslims, and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country”, Mr Trump said on Fox News in March 2016. The same month he told CNN that “Islam hates us”.

The court ruling also points to an interview with Rudy Giuliani, in which the former Mayor of New York said Mr Trump had told him he wanted a Muslim ban, and had told Mr Giuliani to “show me the right way to do it legally”.

The document says the President’s remarks point to a plan to “approximate a Muslim ban without calling it one”.

It reads: “Direct statements of President Trump’s animus towards Muslims and intention to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States, present a convincing case that the First Executive Order was issued to accomplish, as nearly as possible, President Trump’s promised Muslim ban. In particular, the direct statements by President Trump and Mayor Giuliani’s account of his conversations with President Trump reveal that the plan had been to bar the entry of nationals of predominantly Muslim countries deemed to constitute dangerous territory in order to approximate a Muslim ban without calling it one – precisely the form of the travel ban in the First Executive Order.”

As a result, Judge Chuang concludes: “The court will issue an injunction barring enforcement of section 2 (c) of the executive order.

Section 2 (c) is the part of Mr Trump’s executive order which suspends the “unrestricted entry” of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, for 90 days.

The effect of Judge Chuang’s ruling will be to block the intended prevention of issuance of visas to people from the six affected countries.

He added that those who had launched the legal action against the President’s order had “not provided a sufficient basis” for him to declare other sections of the order invalid.

But he added: “In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban.”

Trump has described judicial blocks to the ban as “unprecedented judicial overreach”, and has said he was willing to take the case “as far as it needs to go”, including to the Supreme Court.

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