A new travel ban is set to come into force from March 16, if it goes as intended, without the US courts pitching in. The new Donald Trump executive order was signed on Monday, March 6, after five weeks of the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.
On its part, the Trump administration has gone for all cosmetic changes to its previous version of the executive order issued on January 27 that aimed to put a ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries so that it can evade the courts, like exemptions for green card holders permanent US residents and for those already having a US visa.
But the new travel ban order, that drops Iraq from its list and goes soft on Syrian refugees in terms of the language used, does talk of withholding new visas for 90 days to the people from the six countries, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. The new executive order drops Iraq from the list as the Trump administration feels that the new vetting procedure of the prospective travellers adopted by the Iraqi government is promising enough to take care of the US security concerns.
But it seems these cosmetic measures are not enough to save even this new Trump dump from the judicial scrutiny. A federal judge in the US state of Hawaii has allowed the state’s amended petition challenging the new travel ban by the Trump administration. The state of Hawaii had filed a lawsuit against the first executive order on travel ban but a national injunction on the Trump’s travel ban by a Washington court had put an automatic hold on it.
In its amended lawsuit, the state of Hawaii has argued that the new executive order on travel ban doesn’t change much and violates the right to freedom of religion. Also, the state says in its lawsuit, that the travel ban would adversely affect the social fabric and economy of the state by targeting a religion and thus hindering people’s movements in its educational institutions and in the society as a whole, something that is against the US Constitution.
A Hawaii judge has accepted these contentions and is set to hear the lawsuit on March 15, before it comes into effect on March 16. The court has issued notice to the Trump administration to submit its response by March 13.
This Hawaii lawsuit may be the beginning of yet another round of court hearings that may again cloud the Trump administration’s divisive agenda to put a ban on people’s movement from some Muslim majority countries as some other states that had successfully challenged the earlier version of the executive order, including the state of Washington, have said that they are carefully reviewing the new executive order before deciding on their next step. The Hawaii court hearing may give them the reason they need to go ahead with their own lawsuits.