Hawaii judge strengthens block of Trump immigration order

By Eric DuVall  |  Updated March 29, 2017 at 11:41 PM
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March 29 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Hawaii strengthened the court order he issued banning President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration Wednesday after it was set to expire.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson was the first judge to block implementation of Trump's revised immigration order, which bans travel from six majority Muslim countries but the ruling was only a temporary order pending further hearings.

After listening to oral arguments by lawyers from the Hawaii attorney general's office, which filed suit against the Trump administration, and lawyers from the Justice Department defending the travel ban, Watson upped his prohibition from a temporary order to a preliminary injunction. The decision is meant to prohibit the order from going into effect while the case is being litigated.

Hawaii sued to block Trump's order from being implemented, arguing it discriminated against Muslims and hurt the state's economy, which is heavily dependent on international tourism.

The next step is an appeal to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, which ruled against Trump's first attempt to restrict travel from the Muslim countries.

The suit is one of three winding its way through the federal courts. A judge in Maryland moved to block a portion of the ban relating to travel, but would have allowed other parts to go forward. A judge in Virginia handed the Trump administration a victory, saying the executive order was within the president's authority.

Those cases will next head to the Richmond, Va.,-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over circuit courts in both Maryland and Virginia.

The conflicting lower court decisions virtually guarantee the matter will wind up before the Supreme Court.

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