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Travel Ban 3.0 Blocked by Federal Judge in Hawaii

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 17, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The latest iteration of President Trump's Executive Order banning foreign immigrants and visitors from Muslim majority nations has been blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii.

No, you're not suffering from deja vu. Judge Derrick Watson, the same judge that blocked the second travel ban, temporarily blocked travel ban 3.0 from going into effect. This newest iteration of the executive order travel restrictions was set to go into effect on October 18, 2017.

Preliminary Injunction Granted

Judge Watson issued a temporary injunction preventing the travel ban from being enforced nationwide, not just in Hawaii. Judge Watson explained that the executive order "plainly discriminates based on nationality" in violation of federal law. Additionally, he noted that the newest executive order suffers from the same problems as the previous one: namely, not being based upon sufficient findings nor evidence.

In granting the temporary order blocking the travel ban, a preliminary injunction was ordered. A preliminary injunction is a legal device that a party to a lawsuit can request a court order to prevent immediate, irreparable harm from occurring, before the lawsuit has a chance to be fully heard by a judge or jury. In order to grant a preliminary injunction, however, a judge must be all but certain that the requesting party will win their case. To reach that level of certainty, courts will accept evidence from both sides, and thoroughly research and analyze the legal issues involved. Preliminary injunctions are rarely granted as the burden on the party requesting them is exceedingly difficult to meet.

Supreme Interest

Interestingly, the Supreme Court recently dismissed the challenge to travel ban 2.0 on the grounds that it had expired by its own operation. Additionally, the challenges to the prior travel bans were set to be heard before the High Court, but were taken off calendar, presumably due to the timing issues of the three bans.

While it is all but certain that the federal appellate court will be asked to review Judge Watson's order, it is likely too late in the year for SCOTUS to get involved. However, depending on how the Supreme Court handles the first travel ban case which is still on the docket, the travel ban 3.0 case could be severely impacted. The Department of Justice has already announced plans to appeal.

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