Courts freeze Trump’s travel ban, again

Two federal judges blocked Trump’s second attempt to instate a travel order against Muslim-majority countries. Before it could go into effect at midnight as planned, the ban was frozen by the courts, much like the first one.

Judge Derrick K. Watson ruled on Wednesday that the travel restrictions could have caused the plaintiff, Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, irreparable harm based on religious discrimination.

Watson issued a temporary restraining order to halt the travel ban unless the Department of Justice appeals the ruling.

“This ruling makes us look weak,” Trump said at a rally in Nashville on Wednesday night. “We’re going to fight this terrible ruling.”

The second ruling came out Wednesday night when U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang ruled against a major element of the order that would have suspended nationals of the six countries from obtaining visas.

The new ban differs from the original by removing Iraq from the list of banned countries, as well as allowing those with green cards and visas to enter the United States. It suspends nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.

“The second ban is more dangerous than the first ban because it didn’t cause as much of an uproar since it made exceptions this time,” said Amran Alsiday, an SF State student and Muslim Student Association board member. “They made it a smarter and more efficient ban. This is the time we have to push for more activism.”

Watson cited Trump’s past rhetoric in his ruling to prove “any reasonable, objective observer” would see that the order’s stated secular purpose is only ‘secondary to a religious objective’ of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims.” He also said it had not been proven by the federal government that the ban was needed to protect the U.S. from terrorist infiltration.

“It creates a stigma and a bias against these countries,” said Alsiday, who has family members in Yemen. “You start seeing people looking at you in a certain way because you are from a banned country.”

A judge in Washington challenged the first travel ban in February and halted the effects of it after chaos ensued at airports across the country.

Alsiday felt the impact of the travel ban personally when his cousin’s husband was denied entry into the U.S. from Yemen after the two-year process of obtaining a visa.  

Ten days later, the judge’s ruling allowed Alsiday’s in-law, Esa AlWasli, to fly into San Francisco International Airport and reunite with his wife and meet his nine-month-old baby for the first time.

Though it was financially crippling to purchase a second ticket to the U.S., AlWasli and his family acted as soon as possible after the news broke. It was a relief for the entire family once AlWasli arrived, Alsiday said.

Trump has indicated that he will fight to ensure his second travel order will be instated this time, despite challenges from the two federal judges.

“We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said in Nashville. “We’re going to win. We’re going to keep our citizens safe.”

Alsiday still has many family members back in Yemen that will be affected by future travel and immigration roadblocks imposed by the federal government. He says it is a crucial time for people to be activists and know their rights.

“This is the part they don’t understand, that we do feel discriminated against because of this ban,” Alsiday said. “If you’re coming here, you want to create a family, you want a better future, you want to live the American way of freedom and opportunity.”