A federal judge has placed a temporary restraining order on the effects President Donald Trump's latest executive order on travel. The ruling only applies to the case of a Syrian refugee and his family, but marks the first legal challenge against the president's new directive, which had modified an original executive order that had been blunted in the courts.
On March 11, U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison, Wisconsin, ruled that Trump's directive on travel would not apply to a Syrian family until another hearing on March 21, after the executive order is implemented, Reuters reports.
Conley had heard the case of a Syrian refugee who had resided in Wisconsin since 2014, whose wife and daughter remain in the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria. The woman and child had won asylum in the U.S. after being vetted, but their relocation to Wisconsin had been halted by the Trump administration's January travel ban.
The names of the members of the Syrian family have been kept confidential to preserve their anonymity. Conley ruled that the family had presented a strong case that they would be able to enter the U.S. and placed a temporary restraining order on the Trump directive on travel from applying to them until a future hearing.
On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order placing a temporary halt on U.S. admittance of refugees with an indefinite hold on Syrian refugees. The order had also placed a travel freeze on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
On March 6, Trump signed a revised executive order after his original directive met a series of legal hurdles, such as an upheld national restraining order issued by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart in Washington. The new order, which will go into effect on March 16, no longer singles out Syrian refugees and exempts Iraq from the list of countries barred from travel to the U.S.
In his written decision, Conley noted that the Syrian family may meet criteria to be exempted from the new directive.
"The court appreciates that there may be important differences between the original executive order, and the revised executive order," Conley wrote. "As the order applies to the plaintiff here, however, the court finds his claims have at least some chance of prevailing for the reasons articulated by other courts."
On March 10, Robart declined a request from Washington state to extend his national restraining order against the original Trump executive order to apply to the new directive, The Washington Post reports.
In his written opinion, Robart asserted that Washington had to challenge the new executive order on its own merits.
On March 13, California joined a lawsuit against the latest executive order mounted by Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Washington.
"The Trump administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim travel ban, but they didn't change its unconstitutional intent and effect," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told the Los Angeles Times. "It is still an attack on people ... based on their religion and national origin."