- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Hawaii-based federal judge on Wednesday extended an order that blocks implementation of President Trump’s revised executive order on travel and refugees.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson declined to narrow the scope of his prior ruling to block only the travel portion of the order, writing in his 24-page order that “it makes little sense to do so.” His order converts a temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction, which will block the Trump administration from enforcing the travel ban as the lawsuit while the court considers the merits of the case.

The Justice Department had hoped to convince the judge not to extend his order, which since March 15 has prevented the administration from enforcing portion’s of the revised order that temporarily ban travel of foreign nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the United States, temporarily block all refugee resettlement in the U.S. and lower the cap on the number of refugees to be allowed into the United States this year from 110,000 people to 50,000 people.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said the policy discriminates against Muslims and hurts the state’s economy. The implied message in the revised ban is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim Ban, Muslim Ban”’ that the government didn’t bother to turn off, he said.

The Justice Department had also put forth an alternate option, urging the judge to limit the scope of his order so that the refugee restrictions of the order could take effect. The DOJ argued that Hawaii had not provided adequate evidence that they are harmed by that part of the executive order.

In briefs submitted last week, the Justice Department argued that most of the State of Hawaii’s arguments against the order were focused on the harms the travel restrictions would cause the state’s economy or tourism industry, with little attention paid to the effects of the refugee restrictions. They cited statistics from the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Office that showed since 2010 that just 20 out of more than 530,000 refugees settled in the United States since 2010 were brought to Hawaii for resettlement.

But Judge Watson’s wrote that his preliminary injunction will apply to both section 2 and section 6 of the Trump administration’s order which related to the temporary travel and refugee bans “because the entirety of the Executive Order runs afoul of the Establishment Clause.”

“Put another way, the historical context and evidence relied on by the Court, highlighted by the comments of the Executive and his surrogates, does not parse between Section 2 and Section 6, nor does it do so between subsections within Section 2,” Judge Watson wrote. “Accordingly, there is no basis to narrow the Court’s ruling in the manner requested by the Federal Defendants.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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