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Trump’s Third Travel Ban Is Still Garbage, Still Blocked By A Federal Judge

Trump’s third try at a travel ban has been temporarily, partially blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii. According to Politico, Judge Derrick Watson placed a temporary injunction on the ban, writing in his decision that it was plagued by “internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated ‘national security’ rationale.” As a result, Watson blocked the implementation of all the order’s directives except for those affecting travelers from North Korea and the relatives of government officials from Venezuela. These two restrictions, according to officials, “will take effect as planned on Wednesday.”

Watson is the same judge who blocked the second travel ban, and he was still deeply unimpressed by the Trump administration’s “rationale” in this third draft. In his judgment, he wrote that Trump falls short of the requirements placed upon by the president’s constitutional power to ban foreign nationals: the president must “find[] that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

Watson points out that Trump’s administration has presented no evidence that the entry of the people they banned would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States” – in part because the administration is sketchily hiding its supposed rationale from the court.

In the presidential proclamation itself, Trump claims that the banned countries were singled out after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted an extensive review of information management and security practices across the world. However, they refused to share the report that wrote up their findings. “The explanation for how the Administration settled on the list of eight countries is obscured,” Watson wrote. “While the September 15, 2017 DHS report cited in [the executive order] might offer some insight, the Government objected to the Court’s consideration or even viewing of that classified report, making it impossible to know.”

Without that report, the travel ban must stand on its own – and it doesn’t. “Numerous countries fail to meet one or more of the global baseline criteria described in [the executive order],” Watson wrote, “yet are not included in the ban…Moreover, [the ban’s] individualized country findings make no effort to explain why some types of visitors from a particular country are banned, while others are not.”

For example, Watson cites the order’s treatment of Libya: “describing Libya as having ‘significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols’ and therefore deserving of a ban on all tourist and business visitors, but without discussing why student visitors did not meet the same fate.”

(My suspicion: It’s because the Trump administration knows banned students look incredibly sympathetic on the nightly news, and their offers of admission constitute a legitimate connection to a U.S. institution.)

Lastly, Watson determined that there is sufficient evidence that this order could cause serious harm. “Plaintiffs [i.e. those suing to stop the ban] identify a multitude of harms that are not compensable with monetary damages and that are irreparable—among them, prolonged separation from family members,” Watson concluded. “Defendants [the Trump administration], on the other hand, are not likely harmed by having to adhere to immigration procedures that have been in place for years—that is, by maintaining the status quo.”

I’m glad that visas will be processed as usual for now, but we can only hope that the Supreme Court will destroy this poisonous ban once and for all.

(Via Politico; image via Shutterstock)

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