In his decision granting the temporary restraining order, Federal District Judge Derrick Watson rejected the government's argument that the travel restrictions do not amount to a Muslim ban, and only probing Trump's "veiled psyche" and "secret motives" would turn up evidence of religious discrimination.
Washington: U.S. District Judge James Robart - judge instrumental in the first ban - was asked by a group of plaintiffs applying for a visa to put the order on hold. President Trump had ordered that that number be knocked down to 50,000.
Trump has denied that his attempts to implement a travel ban were attacks on Muslims. The judge also argued that "irreparable injury" was likely if he didn't prevent the implementation of the order. "If this is implemented, it will have devastating consequences for our communities".
"It is hard to see how his analysis would ever permit the executive branch to impose any immigration policy that has any effect on predominantly Muslim countries - no matter how small", said Josh Blackman, an associate professor at the South Texas School of Law in Houston. The move came just a few hours after another federal judge in Hawaii issued a similar but broader ruling against the Muslim ban. "And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way (through the legal system), which is wanted I wanted to do in the first place".
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During a rally Wednesday night, President Trump stated that he still supports the first ban decreed by his executive order and the new version is "watered down". We are going to fight this awful ruling.
Mr Watson said Hawaii would probably be able to prove Trump's order is against the United States constitution because it discriminates against Muslims. In an announcement [press release] Monday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said California is the latest state to join in opposition to the order, with Maryland, Massachusetts and NY also seeking permission to join the lawsuit. The Hawaii decision will be heard by the same court that struck down the first ban in February. The Trump administration says the revised ban would increase national security.
Hawaii's attorney general had asked Watson to halt the executive order on the grounds that it violates the right to freedom of religion under the United States constitution.
"What we are arguing before the court is that court should stop in its tracks before it even takes effect", said Matt Adams, legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.