A federal judge in Hawaii blocked President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Wednesday.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson means the ban can no longer take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday EDT, as originally scheduled.
“We depend on access to Hawaii from around the world, and that continues to be very important, but we felt compelled to assure that we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of a national origin or religion, because that truly goes against the very essence of what makes Hawaii a very special place,” said Gov. David Ige. “Certainly we felt compelled to file the lawsuit and are very happy that the court agreed with our position.”
At a rally in Nashville moments after the ruling was announced, the president said he’s not backing down.
“We’re going to flight this terrible ruling. We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said. “We’re going to win it. We’re going to apply common sense. We’re going to apply intelligence, and we’re never quitting, and we’re never going away, and we’re never, ever giving up. The best way to keep foreign terrorists or, as some people would say in certain instances, radical Islamic terrorists from attacking our country is to stop them from entering our country in the first place.
“The order (the judge) blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump added.
Most of the people we talked to say they believe the fight will continue on to higher courts.
Hakim Ouansafi, chairman of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, said, “I think everyone is in wait-and-see mode — what can happen, what is going to be taken.”
Ouansafi says he knows of at least 40 students, mostly from Iran, who want to come to Hawaii to attend graduate programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, though a university spokesperson said the number of students could be closer to a dozen.
“I think this will be welcome news to them, and hopefully that the Trump administration will look at this as really a good wake-up call to follow the constitution of this country,” Ouansafi said.
Immigration attorney David McCauley says he’s received a number of calls from people from all over the world who are scared of the ban and, even with Wednesday’s ruling, remain afraid they won’t be able to return to the islands.
“It has just thrown a cloud of fear over everybody,” he said. “I’ve gotten calls from people, clients and non clients, from Argentina, from South Korea, from Japan, the Philippines, and they are afraid if they go out of the country, they can’t come back in again. I’m telling them no, it doesn’t apply to you, at least not yet.”
Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, was in Honolulu for a summit with the Conference of Western Attorneys General. She says Oregon is one of 13 states plus the District of Columbia to join an amicus brief in support of Hawaii’s position.
“I think what we have heard today loud and clear, and it didn’t take the judge very long to rule, is that when there is intent to discriminate, whether it’s on the four corners of the document or whether you need to look outside to the context in which the document was prepared, an intent is an intent,” she said. “You cannot snap your fingers and make intent to discriminate go away simply by substituting one document for another, and that is in essence what the court found today.”
Lawmakers are commending the judge’s decision and say it’s time for the president to stop violating the constitution.
“Judge Watson’s ruling is yet another blow to the president’s unconstitutional Muslim ban,” U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono told KHON2. “As we know in our own country’s history, every time our country has targeted a minority group for discriminatory treatment, we have been very wrong, and this administration’s latest actions are no different. I want to add that in finding the executive order to be unconstitutional, Judge Watson exemplifies the importance of an independent judiciary.”
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D, Hawaii, said: “Judge Watson properly concluded that President Trump’s second executive order continues to target Muslims, and is, in fact, a Muslim ban. I commend the State of Hawaii for taking swift action against this unconstitutional order as well as Judge Watson for stopping its implementation. It’s time for President Trump to stop violating the Constitution, and to rescind this latest effort to promote religious bigotry.”
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D, Hawaii, said: “Hawaii is a place where people with different ideas, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities feel welcomed and respected. It’s only right that our Attorney General Doug Chin represent those values in working to stop this blanket travel ban from going into effect. This travel ban is bad policy, plain and simple.”
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D, Hawaii, said: “I was pleased to read the Court’s decision today granting the TRO against enforcement of Executive Order 13780. This second attempt by the Trump administration to ban a specific group from our country based on religious affiliation was no better than Trump’s first attempt. I join my Democratic Colleagues in Congress in calling on President Trump to stop these unconstitutional and un-American attempts to discriminate against Muslims.
“It is only fitting that Hawaii is playing a leading role in standing up for our country’s history and tradition of welcoming immigrants with open arms. I encourage all people who believe in equality, justice, diversity and inclusiveness to continue to stand together in celebration of our shared American values,” she added.