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States Rush to Stop Trump's New Travel Ban Before It Begins

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 13, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Trump's travel ban was halted a month ago by a federal judge in Seattle. Last Monday, the President issued a new, revised ban, a slightly adjusted version of the original executive order, now better tailored to withstand legal challenges.

The new ban is scheduled to go into effect this Thursday -- but not if several states have their way. Washington, Hawaii, and others are rushing to halt the new order before it can be implemented.

Hawaii Goes to Court on Eve of Ban

Washington State was the first state to challenge Trump's original ban. That executive order barred travel and immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations and was put on hold by Judge James L. Robart of the Western District of Washington, who issued a temporary restraining order keeping the ban from being enforced. The new EO retains many of the characteristics of its predecessor with a few major changes -- six nations are listed this time around, instead of seven, for example, and green card holders are no longer effected.

In the latest round of lawsuits, Hawaii beat out its mainland neighbors. The Aloha State will have the first legal challenge to Trump's new order, according to CNN. A federal judge in Hawaii has scheduled a hearing on the state's new challenge to the law for this Wednesday, just one day before the new ban begins. The hearing will be before U.S District Court Judge Derrick Watson, an Obama appointee.

Washington Continues, With More States Joining

Washington, too, is continuing its fight. In a new filing, it argues that the existing injunction must be maintained and extended to cover the new executive order. The government "cannot evade that injunction simply by reissuing the same basic policies in a new form," the state says.

"Courts do not issue injunctive relief in a game of whack-a-mole, forced to start anew at a defendant's whim."

Today, the state filed an amended complaint in its ongoing litigation, and a motion to enforce the current preliminary injunction. Judge Robart has ordered the DOJ to respond by Tuesday afternoon.

Washington was originally joined by Minnesota in that lawsuit, with Oregon intervening last Thursday. Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York are also expected to join the litigation.

Meanwhile, one court has already blocked the new order. A district court in Wisconsin issued a TRO last Friday, stopping the application of the new travel ban to a Syrian man whose wife and child remain in Aleppo. Unlike the nationwide rulings Washington and Hawaii are seeking, however, this order applies only to the suit's singular plaintiff.

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