updated 7:33 AM MST, Nov 17, 2017

Second Trump travel ban gets appeals hearing in Seattle Monday

  • Published in AMERICAS

President Donald Trump's lawyers will head to court in Seattle Monday, trying to get his second travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries reinstated.

Lawyers will present arguments to the U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals for Hawaii vs. Trump. That same body previously ruled against Trump's first travel ban -- a ban that was immediately challenged by Washington state.

Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, in March, placed a hold on Trump's plan to temporarily suspend immigration from the six majority-Muslim countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen - striking another legal blow against the president's attempts to institute a travel ban.

The ruling came hours before the revised travel ban was set to go into effect. It made Watson's ruling the prevailing block to Trump's plans, but one only designed to last for about two weeks.

Trump's lawyers appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco. Whoever loses in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump's first attempt at the travel ban, which he signed on Jan. 27, barred entry for nationals of seven majority Muslim countries, shut down the entire refugee program, blocked visitors who already had already been issued visas and gave immigration preference to religious minorities, which Trump said was designed to help Christians.

The first ban was challenged by Washington state and was halted by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle. Robart's ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit.

Rather than appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, the Trump administration revoked the first order and issued a new one.

The revised executive order, signed by Trump on March 6, bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. It includes several changes from the original ban struck down in court. Iraq was removed from the list after its government agreed to the enhanced screening of its citizens. An indefinite ban on Syrians was dropped. And the new order made clear that nationals of those six countries with valid visas or legal permanent residence (known as green cards) would not be restricted from traveling.

Government lawyers argued that the revised travel ban was written to address the concerns raised by judges, which included the removal of the section that gave preference to religious minorities. By stripping the order of any religious component, they argued, the order was no longer illegal. They also bolstered their national security argument by including examples of ongoing terrorism investigations against foreigners who legally entered the U.S. in recent years.

Civil rights groups, immigration advocacy organizations, and nearly a dozen states fought back, arguing that the revised travel ban was simply "Muslim Ban 2.0" and contained the same fatal flaws as the first. Watson agreed, pointing to statements by Trump and his staff that served as "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus" toward Muslims.


Tagged under Somalia