Wall Street Journal
By Brent Kendall
March 8, 2017
A federal judge in Hawaii agreed Wednesday to fast-track consideration of the state’s lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration, setting the stage for a quick initial ruling on the administration’s new effort to restrict U.S. travel from six Muslim-majority nations.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson agreed to hear oral arguments March 15 on Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the travel restrictions, which are slated to go into effect a day later. Both the state and the Justice Department, which is defending the executive order, had signed onto the timeline.
Mr. Trump’s order, signed Monday, temporarily bars the issuance of new visas to people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also temporarily suspends the admission of refugees to the U.S.
President Trump signed a new executive order on immigration Monday that revised his first one halted by the courts. Here's a look at what is different about this new order and whether it will face the same legal issues.
The president says the measures are needed to protect the country from terrorist threats. Critics say the measures are the latest dressed-up attempt by Mr. Trump to fulfill a campaign pledge to implement a “Muslim ban.”
The revised order is significantly scaled back from Mr. Trump’s first attempt to restrict U.S. entry, which he signed on Jan. 27. Federal courts put that original executive order on hold after judges found it was likely unconstitutional, and the case in Hawaii could provide an early test of whether the revised version will be more successful in passing legal muster.
The new order makes significant concessions, including providing advance notice of the ban, which could help address judicial concerns on due process. The order also no longer applies to current visa holders or green-card recipients, since they have already been approved to travel or live in the U.S. And it strikes Iraq from the list of banned countries, while removing a provision that gave preference to Christian refugees from Muslim nations.
Some of those changes could help the White House address court concerns that the original order didn’t provide proper due-process protections to people affected by it. It is less clear whether the changes will be enough to overcome allegations that the president is singling out Muslims in an unlawfully discriminatory way.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin had no immediate comment.
Hawaii, which also sued to challenge the first order, focuses much of its new lawsuit on the religion question, though it challenges the revised order on other grounds as well. The state says the travel restrictions are a blow to tourism, to in-state employers who need foreign workers and to state residents with family members residing in the six affected countries.
Hawaii appears to be the first litigant to challenge the new order in court. The losing side almost certainly will appeal to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over several Western states. That court played a central role in sinking the first executive order, ruling last month that the president couldn't enforce it while the judiciary sorted out its legality.
That earlier Ninth Circuit ruling came in a case brought by Washington state, whose attorney general, Bob Ferguson, is still considering whether that state will bring legal action against the new order.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com