June 15, 2017 – Donald Trump’s travel ban has been dealt another blow after a second US appeals court upheld a decision to block the executive order.
The latest ruling was made by the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court in the case brought by the state of Hawaii, meaning the second version of Trump’s executive order remains suspended.
The San Francisco decision comes after a separate appeals court in Virginia upheld a case brought in Maryland. It means there are two injunctions blocking Trump’s travel ban and both of them have been upheld by appeals courts.
Trump reacted angrily on Twitter to the latest appeals court decision.
“Well, as predicted, the 9th Circuit did it again – Ruled against the TRAVEL BAN at such a dangerous time in the history of our country,” the president tweeted.
The Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions also spoke out again the decision. “President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe,” Session said. “Recent attacks confirm that the threat to our nation is immediate and real.”
Trump has courted major controversy by apparently attempting to use the recent spate attacks in the UK as evidence his travel ban is justified.
As a result, the president’s state visit to Britain has apparently been delayed.
The executive order bans immigration for 90 days from six countries: Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It also suspends the US refugee program for 120 days.
The Hawaii ruling suspended both the immigration and refugee program ban.
This was the Trump administration’s second attempt at the travel ban, after the first one was also suspended by the U.S. courts.
Instead of continuing the initial legal battle, the president’s team decided to issue a second executive order that attempted to deal with some of the legal problems highlighted in the first Trump immigration ban.
The second version also removed Iraq from the list of countries subject to the travel suspension.
However, the judges in both Hawaii and Maryland have decided that enough problems remain in the new order to mean it cannot be lawfully applied.
Application to Canada
Under the new order, permanent residents of Canada with citizenship from any of the six countries targeted can be denied entry to the U.S.
Should the revised ban be imposed, landed immigrants from Canada must apply for a visa waiver from a U.S. Consulate, granted on a case-by-case basis.
Generally, a visa waiver is issued to an individual who proves that a denial of entry would cause undue hardship and admission of the foreign national would not pose a threat to U.S. national security.
The chaos caused by the original order was compounded by a lack of clarity on who it covered and who it did not. Green card holders and dual nationals found themselves prevented from USA immigration, or held at airports when they arrived on U.S. soil.
Iraq was removed from the list following an intensive lobbying campaign at the highest levels of government. It is understood U.S. officials were satisfied that the vetting measures in place for Iraqi immigrants were sufficient.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described Iraq as ‘an important ally’ in the battle against ISIS.
Despite the differences between the two executive orders signed by Trump, it is difficult to see past the fact that if the U.S. courts thought the first one was not legally sound, they are going to think the same about the second one.
The Trump administration must now decide whether to continue the legal battle, with a Supreme Court hearing looking likely.
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