Hawaii Brings First Court Challenge To Trump’s Revised Refugee Order

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent

Hawaii has filed a challenge in federal court to President Donald Trump’s new executive order on refugee and migrant entry to the U.S.

“This second Executive Order is infected with the same legal problems as the first Order — undermining bedrock constitutional and statutory guarantees,” lawyers wrote in the challenge, first reported by Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed News.

“This new executive order is nothing more than Muslim Ban 2.0,” Hawaii state Attorney General Doug Chins said. “Under the pretense of national security, it still targets immigrants and refugees. It leaves the door open for even further restrictions.”

The state filed the challenge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The state is asking U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson to temporarily bar the order’s enforcement before it takes effect March 16. Hawaii’s complete brief challenging the order will come Wednesday. The Trump administration will have until Monday to respond.

Hawaii retained former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal, now a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, to assist on the case. They argue the revised order violates the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Constitution’s establishment, due process, and equal protection clauses.

The new order suspends travel to the U.S. for 90 days for individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It also suspends refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days, and reduces the number of refugees the U.S. will admit from 110,000 to 50,000 per year. U.S. visa holders are not affected by the new order.

Lawyers argue Hawaii can bring the case because the order bars tourists, family members, and foreign exchange students or professors at public universities from coming to the state, adversely affecting its economy and its public institutions. They further argue the order effectively disfavors Islam, in violation of the Constitution’s establishment clause, which jeopardizes the state’s interest in maintaining separation between church and state.

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