President Donald Trump’s second attempt at an executive order temporarily blocking refugees from entering the US, along with immigrants and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, was placed on hold by a Hawaii court on Wednesday. As Vox’s Dara Lind writes:
It was a scathing rebuke for an order that administration officials spent weeks reworking, in hopes of avoiding the judicial blockade that the first attempt sailed into in January.
The temporary restraining order came from federal judge Derrick K. Watson, of the District of Hawaii. It prevents the Trump administration from going forward with its plan to stop issuing visas to residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen; to stop allowing refugees to enter the US for 120 days; and to cut the US’s total refugee quota for the current fiscal year (which ends in September) in half.
The worst news for the administration is that the ruling suggests future revisions of the ban won’t help its chances of survival. Watson declared that the travel ban is, for all intents and purposes, a Muslim ban — that its reason for being fundamentally violates the First Amendment.
The judge, Derrick Watson, rejected the Trump administration’s arguments that the ban was not a “Muslim ban” because it never mentioned religion and instead applied to a collection of countries, which themselves do not contain anywhere close to a majority of the world’s Muslims:
A reasonable, objective observer — enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance — would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose.
The administration is almost certain to appeal to a higher court, in hopes of lifting the temporary restraining order issued Wednesday.
Read the judge’s entire ruling, including his finding that the order violates a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination, here: