A federal judge in Hawaii has indefinitely barred enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugee and migrant entry, pending a full review of the order’s legality by the courts.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson of the District of Hawaii issued the order late Wednesday. Watson issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) earlier this month on March 15, barring the directive’s enforcement pending further proceedings. However, TROs are usually short-term orders that expire after several weeks. Watson issued a permanent injunction on Wednesday, which simply ensures Trump’s order will remain enjoined while the court’s assess it on the merits.Watson’s decision did not come as a surprise — the best shot lawyers from the Department of Justice seemed to have was to convince Watson to narrow the scope of his order, instead of urging him to scrap it all together. Still, they argued during a hearing Wednesday that Hawaii had failed to show it would suffer irreparable harm without a permanent injunction, and that the order was a lawful exercise of presidential power.
The court remained unconvinced of the government’s arguments, and reiterated assertions made in its original order of Mar. 15. Watson explained he believed Trump’s order could violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause, as comments made during the general election campaign by Trump and his surrogates could leave much of the country with the impression the order’s intent is to disparage Islam.
“Where the ‘historical context and ‘the specific sequence of events leading up to” the adoption of the challenged Executive Order are as full of religious animus, invective, and obvious pretext as is the record here, it is no wonder that the Government urges the Court to altogether ignore that history and context,” Watson wrote. “The Court, however, declines to do so. The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has seen.”
The order blocks two provisions of the order — one which suspends the refugee resettlement program and another that blocks travel from six countries with high instances of terror. The order applies nationwide.
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