Virginia supports Hawaii lawsuit against revised travel ban

Virginia supports Hawaii lawsuit against revised travel ban

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, joined in his lawsuit by heavily Democratic California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and OR, asked for a hearing with a federal judge in Seattle before the administration plans to implement the ban Thursday on new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim nations.

Over 130 US foreign policy experts have denounced President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, saying it undermines America's national security and interests as much as the original order barring travelers from some Muslim-majority countries and refugees.

California's attorney general said on Monday that it would be joining Washington in its lawsuit; other states like Minnesota, New York and OR have also signed on to the challenge.

Under the USA legal system, a federal judge can suspend all or part of the Trump executive order, with nationwide effect - which Robart did the first time around and which the state plaintiffs hope he will do again. And for 90 days, no new visas would be granted to travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Several states along with refugee assistance programs and rights groups have brought suits over the Republican leader's executive order - a revamped version of the order he issued on January 27, which was suspended by the federal courts.

Ismail Elshikh, a plaintiff in Hawaii's challenge, said the ban will prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting.

Hawaii was the first state to file a lawsuit challenging the revised ban.

What may also become a factor is a draft Department of Homeland Security memo that, according to the Associated Press, reported that citizenship in a country is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threat. Though the new order dropped Iraq from the list of countries and does not provide for religious preferences, opponents say it remains a Muslim ban cloaked in different language.

An injunction placed on the first order by a federal judge in Washington state applied to the section on refugees of a "minority religion" and three other sections of the order.

The Justice Department will have a chance to respond on Monday, and then the judge will hear oral arguments on Wednesday.

Jadwat also argued that Trump's repeated promises to ban Muslims during the election show the administration's intent to single out a religious group and should be taken into account when looking at the revised plan which, he said, is a thinly veiled attempt to keep Muslims from immigrating to the US. A federal judge in Hawaii is set to hear arguments on the case later on Wednesday.

The White House reworked the first executive order to address some of the issues that came up in court, but the main points are largely the same.

Watson pointedly asked: "How do we assess that the neutrality (of the new order's text) isn't a subterfuge in some way?"

Hawaii has asked for a temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of the revised travel ban. Indeed, Trump might even be looking to save face with this sheared down version of his previous executive order.

The government said the courts should only look at the actual document and not at outside comments by Trump or his aides.



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