ADEA Washington Update

Federal Judges Undercut Third Attempt at Travel Ban

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President Donald Trump’s third attempt to impose a ban on citizens from certain countries traveling to the United States has been halted by two federal judges. On Oct. 20, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii issued a preliminary injunction halting the ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad.

In his ruling, Judge Watson said the Trump Administration had not shown that the entry of citizens from the six countries would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The judge declined to halt the ban on travel from North Korea and Venezuela, two countries that were added to the list of nations covered by the third iteration of the travel ban, which was issued on Sept. 24.

A second federal judge, Theodore Chuang of the U.S. District Court in Maryland, also halted the travel ban for the same six countries, but only for travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with people or institutions in the United States. Like Judge Watson, Judge Chuang did not halt the ban for travelers from Venezuela or North Korea.

Unlike the original travel bans, the stated rationale for the third ban was that the affected countries’ screening procedures for travelers were insufficient to protect against criminals or terrorists entering the United States. According to Homeland Security officials, the ban on entry followed negotiations with countries around the world aimed at getting them to use certain security standards. Those standards included being able to electronically communicate passport information, share relevant terrorist and criminal information with the United States and use biometric devices.

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