Vermont supporting Hawaii lawsuit against Trump travel ban

Posted March 15, 2017

Critics say the new order is still essentially a ban on Muslims coming to the United States and therefore unconstitutional because it singles out people of a certain religion for discrimination.

The order was handed something of a defeat Friday, when U.S. District Judge William Conley enjoined the federal government from using the directive to block the arrival of two Syrian refugees - a mother and her child - who wish to join a relative in the United States.

The revised Trump order, like the first, imposes a 90-day ban on entry into the US of foreign nationals from a list of Mideast nations with Muslim-majority populations, and a 120-ban on entry of refugees from any country.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said the Free State will join other states and file a lawsuit today to overturn President Donald Trump's revised temporary travel ban.

The White House says the ban has been tailored to survive legal scrutiny. NY and OR asked to join Washington's legal action.

The new order will be enforced starting Wednesday. Iraq was removed from the list after its government agreed to enhanced screening of its citizens, and the indefinite ban on Syrians was dropped. The judge can choose to block the executive order - like Seattle judge Robart did for the first ban - or allow it to take effect. I am proud to join with my fellow attorneys general in protecting our people from this latest unfounded and unconstitutional overreach.

The Washington case has become the focal point of resistance to Trump's revised order with the Democratic states of Minnesota and OR already part of the challenge and the states of New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and California requesting to join the legal action. On Feb. 3, Robart acted on one of those suits, issuing a nationwide restraining order prohibiting federal agents from enforcing the ban.

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"Its text and objective are explicitly religion-neutral, and it no longer grants any preference for victims of religious persecution", they wrote in the Hawaii case.

The fatal flaw of the first travel ban was its complete lack of a justification. It doesn't apply to travelers who already have visas.

The Justice Department has said the new measure supersedes the restraining order imposed on the initial ban, and will be enforced starting Thursday. That lawsuit, though, was superseded by events when a federal judge in Washington state blocked the travel ban altogether.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said that the state could not stay silent on Trump's travel ban because of Hawaii's unique culture and history.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the most populous USA state was joining Washington state's challenge, saying the order, despite its changes, is an attack on people based on their religion or national origin. Unlike the first order, the new ban won't affect current visa holders and removes language that would give priority to religious minorities.

An amended complaint said the order was similar to the original January 27 directive because it "will cause severe and immediate harms to the States, including our residents, our colleges and universities, our healthcare providers, and our businesses".

Attorneys for Hawaii filed the lawsuit against the USA government in federal court in Honolulu.