In Summary
  • Trump quickly vowed to fight the "flawed" ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if required, describing it as "unprecedented judicial overreach."
  • Critics say the new order essentially remains a ban on Muslims coming to the United States, and therefore unconstitutional because it singles out followers of a certain religion for discrimination.

HONOLULU

A federal court in Hawaii on Wednesday halted Donald Trump's revised executive order temporarily closing US borders to refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, dealing the president a humiliating defeat.

US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii, in its legal challenge to the order, had established a strong likelihood that the ban would cause "irreparable injury" were it to go ahead.

The ruling means a nationwide freeze on enforcement of a ban on entry by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also halts a 120-day suspension of the US refugee admissions program.

Trump quickly vowed to fight the "flawed" ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if required, describing it as "unprecedented judicial overreach."

SUSPEND IMMIGRATION

"The law in the constitution gave the president the power to suspend immigration when he deems it to be in the national interest of our country," he said at a speech in Nashville, Tennessee, adding: "We are going to win."

The Hawaii court said however it would not stay its decision in the event of an appeal, meaning the ban cannot go ahead as planned on Thursday regardless of any action the White House takes.

The court in Honolulu was the first to rule in a trio of legal challenges against the ban, which had been set to go into effect at midnight.

A federal court in Seattle later granted a separate emergency motion from Washington and Oregon states for a "14-day temporary restraining order," also citing "irreparable harm."

MUSLIM BAN?

The Trump administration's wide-ranging initial travel restrictions imposed on January 27 were slapped down by the federal courts, after sparking a legal, political and logistical furor.

Trump signed a revised ban behind closed doors on March 6 with a reduced scope, exempting Iraqis and permanent US residents but maintaining the temporary ban on the other six countries and refugees.

The White House said those six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.

Judge Watson however rejected the White House claim that the order wasn't a Muslim ban, ruling that it would not be a leap "to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam" given their Muslim populations ranging from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent.

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