A broad swath of immigration advocates have lashed out amid Trump’s revised ban on travel from six Middle Eastern countries, citing Constitutional and humanitarian concerns in opposition to the President’s keystone foreign policy. Trump’s initial ban was rejected by the courts prompting a second, revised ban, although that too was challenged and ultimately blocked by judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
Judge Derrick Watson, a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, issued a temporary restraining order on Trump’s ban citing, among other reasons, the First Amendment of the Constitution, which addresses religions liberty. “Nationwide relief is appropriate in light of the likelihood of success on the Establishment Clause claim,” he wrote in his ruling.
Watson criticized the administration’s defense of the ban with respect to its limitation to only six countries, as well as its relevance to non-Muslims. “The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed,” he wrote.
Shortly after Watson’s ruling, a judge in Maryland blocked part of the Executive Order prompting an appeal from the Trump administration and subsequent backlash from groups affiliated with the National Immigration Law Center.
“The courts have repeatedly rejected the Trump administration’s discriminatory Muslim and refugee ban, holding that our country’s core value of religious freedom cannot be swept away by presidential edict,” said Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We are confident that they will continue to side with the Constitution and with our clients, who have bravely stood up for themselves, the people they serve, and all those impacted by the president’s unlawful and inhumane policy.”
Omar Jadwat, Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, also called out the administration’s for what he sees as a failure to respect the nation’s linchpin document. “President Trump’s Muslim ban has fared miserably in the courts, and for good reason—it violates fundamental provisions of our Constitution. We look forward to defending this careful and well-reasoned decision in the appeals court,” he said.
Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, and Beth Baron, president of the Middle East Studies Association, also issued statements in opposition to the ban.
“The American tradition of welcoming refugees has been preserved thanks to judicial intervention just hours before the latest refugee and Muslim ban was to go into effect. Two federal judges have now thwarted President Trump’s second attempt at an unconstitutional travel ban aimed at Muslims,” Hetfield said. “As the world’s oldest refugee resettlement agency, HIAS is prepared to remain true to American and Jewish values by pursuing this legal challenge as long as necessary to protect the American tradition of welcoming the vulnerable and persecuted.”
Trump issued an executive order than bans travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The case in Maryland case will go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, according to information from the National Immigration Law Center.