A second federal judge rejects Trump latest immigration order

Just hours after a federal judge in Hawaii stopped a new Trump administration immigration and refugee ban from going into effect, a second judge in Maryland has issued a similar ruling.

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland, who also served as a counsel in the Department of Homeland Security, ruled that one part of the ban, pertaining to six Muslim-majority countries, should be suspended, pending more court action.

According to a copy of the ruling (which is not yet on the court’s website but obtained by the Washington Post), Chuang agreed with conclusions reach by Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii, that the order had its roots in a Muslim ban proposed by presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

The Post said after hearing arguments, Chuang’s opinion said that the new executive order was “the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

“These statements, which include explicit, direct statements of President Trump’s animus toward Muslims and intention to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States, present a convincing case that the First Executive Order was issued to accomplish, as nearly as possible. President Trump’s promised Muslim ban,” Chuang said.

Overnight, the President and the Justice Department strongly rejected the conclusions reached by Judge Watson.

“The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the federal district court’s ruling, which is flawed both in reasoning and in scope. The President’s Executive Order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our Nation’s security, and the Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts,” the department said in an issued statement. President Trump also refuted the opinion at a public rally in Nashville.

A third federal judge, James Robart, may also issue an opinion on the newer executive order after hearing arguments on Wednesday.

Watson has temporarily barred the government from enforcing the two main restrictions in the new Trump order that was issued nine days ago and had been scheduled to go into effect on Thursday.

The temporary 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. of all nationals of six Mideast nations and the temporary 120-day ban on entry of refugees from any nation were blocked, the judge declared, “in all places, including the United States, at all borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas.”  That order will stand until “further orders from this court.”

Judge Watson found extensive evidence that the President and key aides intended the revised order, as well as the original version, to have been based on “animus” toward Muslims.  He found that this interpretation outweighed government claims that the orders were intended to protect the nation from the threat of terrorism.

Scott Bomboy is the editor in chief of the National Constitution Center.

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