ADEA Washington Update

Temporary Restraining Orders Issued on Executive Order on Immigration

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travelbanclippedTwo federal judges have issued temporary restraining orders on President Trump’s second Executive Order (EO). The second EO proposed to ban citizens, from six predominantly Muslim countries—Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen—from entering the United States for at least 90 days, ostensibly for national security purposes. Iraq was excluded from the revised EO. Unlike the Administration’s earlier travel ban, this order was not designed to take effect immediately, instead it had a start date of March 16, 2017.

The revisions did little to persuade the judges, each of whom issued temporary restraining orders on the travel ban’s implementation nationwide. Both U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland cited statements from the Trump campaign in their rulings that the EO was intended to discriminate against Muslims. Judge Watson wrote in his March 15 opinion, even a “reasonable, objective observer” would see that the new order was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.” Judge Chuang, in a ruling issued just hours before the ban was to take effect on March 16, made a similar comment: “In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban.”

In later developments, on March 29, Judge Watson extended the injunction indefinitely to stop implementation of President Trump’s EO.  Judge Watson wrote that the “entirety” of the order runs afoul of religious protections in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The new order extending the injunction means the Trump Administration will not be able to implement the EO until the matter is fully adjudicated. The Trump Administration is expected to appeal the Hawaii injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. President Trump indicated that he will pursue implementation of the EO all the way to the Supreme Court.

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