- The Washington Times - Friday, March 17, 2017

The Justice Department filed notice Friday it intends to appeal a ruling out of Maryland that temporarily blocks part of President Trump’s revised order on immigration and refugees.

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction that prevented the Trump administration from enforcing a portion of the administration’s order that banned for 90 days travel of foreign nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to the United States.

A separate order from a Hawaii-based federal judge had earlier blocked broader portions of the revised order, including the suspension of refugee resettlement programs, from going into effect Thursday. No notice of appeal had been filed in that case late Friday and a statement from a Justice Department spokeswoman confirming the Maryland appeal made no mention of the Hawaii case.

“The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the Maryland federal district court’s ruling, and looks forward to defending the President’s Executive Order seeking to protect our Nation’s security,” DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas said.

The notice filed in the Maryland case, brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project and the American Civil Liberties Union, will be appealed to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

The second executive order was drafted after the courts similarly halted the original order over constitutional concerns.

Despite some changes from the original order, Judge Chuang wrote that Trump administration officials’ own prior public statements “provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

The second executive order, which was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, had included a number of changes including the removal of Iraq as one of the countries from which travel was banned. While the revised version kept in place a 120-day halt of all refugee resettlement, it removed the original order’s permanent ban on refugees from Syria and exemptions for religious minorities, namely Christians. It also lowered the number of refugees accepted by the U.S. this year from 110,000 people to 50,000.

Mr. Trump had vowed to fight the rulings against the executive order, which administration officials have said is necessary to battle Islamist extremism and keep potential terrorists out of the United States.

Speaking at a rally in Tennessee in the hours after the Hawaii ruling was announced, Mr. Trump called the decision “an unprecedented judicial overreach” and rhetorically asked the crowd whether they thought the Obama-appointed judge issued the ruling “for political reasons.”

“This ruling makes us look weak,” he said. “We are going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court. We’re going to win.”

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