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Hawaii Issues 1st Challenge to Trump’s New Travel Ban | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hundreds march in protest against Trump’s travel ban. Photograph: Sandy Huffaker/AFP

Hawaii has become the first US state to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s revised travel order banning entry of people from six mainly Muslim countries, saying it will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.

“Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the state of Hawaii has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in its federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump, following the new executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations issued earlier this week,” according to a statement from Chin’s office.

Chin argued late Wednesday that while the new order features changes to address complaints raised by courts that blocked the first travel ban, the new order is pretty much the same as the first one.

The far-flung Pacific state is seeking a nationwide restraining order blocking implementation of the order Trump signed on Monday.

The new order suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and halts the granting of new visas for travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan. It explicitly exempts Iraqis, who were on the first list, and legal permanent residents and valid visa holders.

Imam Ismail Elshikh of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, a plaintiff in the state’s challenge, says the ban will keep his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting.

Trump’s “executive order inflicts a grave injury on Muslims in Hawaii, including Dr. Elshikh, his family, and members of his mosque,” Hawaii’s complaint says.

“Nothing of substance has changed: There is the same blanket ban on entry from Muslim-majority countries (minus one),” Chin said.

“The courts did not tolerate the Administration’s last attempt to hoodwink the judiciary, and they should not countenance this one,” Chin wrote.

Trump’s first order sparked a legal, political and logistical furor.

The Republican president criticized a court order suspending the ban as “a very bad decision, very bad for the safety and security of our country. The rollout was perfect.”

But he has now stepped away from a promise to challenge the matter in the courts. The second order repeals the first, spelling the end of any pending legal proceedings.

University of Richmond Law School professor Carl Tobias said given that the new executive order spells out more of a national security rationale than the old one and allows for some travelers from the six nations to be admitted on a case-by-case basis, it will be harder to show that the new order is intended to discriminate against Muslims.

“The administration’s cleaned it up, but whether they have cleaned it up enough I don’t know,” he said. “It may be harder to convince a judge there’s religious animus here.”