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Hawaiʻi Case Stayed as Nationwide Order Blocking Immigration Ban Remains

Posted February 7, 2017, 01:54 PM HST
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State seal. Photo by Wendy Osher.

A Hawaiʻi federal judge has stayed the lawsuit filed by the State of Hawaiʻi challenging a travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump, so long as a nationwide injunction against the Executive Order remains in place, or until further order of the court.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “A federal judge in Seattle halted implementation of this unconstitutional and illegal Executive Order banning travel by persons based strictly upon their nation of origin and religion. As of right now this applies to all jurisdictions, including our state. If the situation ever changes, our own federal judge retains the option to reschedule Hawaiʻi’s hearing.”

Last Friday, the State of Hawaiʻi asked the court to block implementation of the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order signed by President Trump entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

The Executive Order restricts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries including: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen. It also suspends all refugee admission for 120 days and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Hawaiʻi’s lawsuit alleged that the Executive Order violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, denies equal protection of the law, and violates due process rights and other federal statutes.

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After Hawaiʻi filed its lawsuit, Hawaiʻi federal district judge Derrick K. Watson scheduled a hearing on a temporary restraining order for Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. On the same day Hawaiʻi filed its lawsuit, Seattle federal district judge James L. Robart issued an injunction against the Executive Order that applied nationwide in Washington v. Trump, 2:17-cv-141.

The federal government appealed the Washington injunction over the weekend to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today’s order from Judge Watson stays the Hawaiʻi lawsuit so long as the Washington nationwide injunction remains in place.

Attorney General Chin added, “Hawaiʻi is part of the same appellate circuit as the state of Washington, which is the Ninth Circuit. We submitted our own legal arguments in this case to the Ninth Circuit in an amicus brief which they accepted. A ruling from the Ninth Circuit would apply to both states. If, however, for any reason the Ninth Circuit comes down with a decision that does not address Hawaiʻi’s concerns – such as those related to our unique status as an island state – then Judge Watson still has the option to reschedule Hawaiʻi’s hearing.”

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