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Hawaii Sues Trump Over New Travel Ban


The State of Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to challenge President Donald Trump's executive order that places travel restrictions on people from six Muslim-majority countries, including a 120-day ban for refugee applicants.

"The Executive Order means that thousands of individuals across the United States and in Hawaii who have immediate family members living in the affected countries will now be unable to receive visits from those persons or to be reunited with them in the United States," attorneys argued in the lawsuit, which was published online by CNN.

"It means that universities, employers, and other institutions throughout the United States and in Hawaii will be unable to recruit or to welcome qualified individuals from the six designated countries. It threatens certain non-citizens within the United States and in Hawai‘i with the possibility that they will be unable to travel abroad and return -- for instance, because their visa only permits them one entry, or because their visa will have expired during the time the Executive Order is still in place."

In addition, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin that Trump's travel ban will have a negative impact on the state's economy and violate Hawaii's state constitution.

"We did so for one simple reason: everyone in the United States, including the president, must follow the law and follow the Constitution," Chin said at a news conference, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "The executive order that President Trump issued last Friday keeps Hawaii families apart, it blocks Hawaii residents from traveling, it harms Hawaii’s tourism industry, it establishes a religion in Hawaii in violation of the Constitution, it blocks Hawaii businesses and universities from hiring as they see fit. Most importantly, it degrades the values that Hawaii has worked so hard to protect."

Trump's new travel ban is a less severe version of his earlier ban, which was struck down in federal court. That ban prohibited all non-U.S. Citizen travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries for an indefinite period of time, including those who had already been approved of a travel visa or refugee admission.

Trump's new version removes Iraq from the list of countries, indicates a set period of time, and allows those already approved of a travel visa or refugee admission.

However, Neal Katyal, a lead attorney for Hawaii and former acting U.S. solicitor general, told CNN that the current ban is still problematic and deserves to be challenged in court.

"To be sure, the new executive order covers fewer people than the old one,"Katyal said. But, he added, the new ban still "suffers from the same constitutional and statutory defects." 

Sources: CNN (2), Honolulu Star-Advertiser / Photo credit: Molly Solomon/Hawaii Public Radio

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