With the start of the government’s revised travel order looming, legal challengers hope a court decision will forestall the administration’s second attempt to limit travelers and refugees coming to the U.S.
Lawyers with three groups involved in lawsuits related to President Donald Trump’s travel orders said they are watching the actions of a Washington state federal judge late Tuesday, and hearings in two other states Wednesday, for any decisions that could affect the Thursday implementation of the most recent order.
Court hearings are expected in Maryland and Hawaii on Wednesday regarding similar challenges to the travel order.
Three federal appeals judges last month upheld a Washington state ruling that suspended the first travel order, issued January 27, a week after Trump’s inauguration. The revised version released last week attempts to bypass the lawsuits, protests and frenzied roll-out of the first order.
The most recent travel-related executive order, issued by Trump on March 6, barred visas to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and all refugee admissions for 120 days, beginning March 16, with the government citing “national security” concerns.
Opponents to the order – which will affect the six predominantly Muslim countries and a refugee population awaiting resettlement that includes many Muslims – maintain that the second order is as religiously discriminatory and unconstitutional as the first, and plan to continue legal challenges to the president’s policies.
“No matter how far President Trump tries to run away from his initial statements that this was a ban on Muslims and discrimination against Muslims, he can’t erase where this order originated — in an effort to discriminate against Muslims on the basis of their religion,” said Cecillia Wang, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, on a call with reporters Tuesday.
At various times while campaigning for president, Trump made sweeping statements calling to bar refugees and Muslims from entering the United States.
The White House denies that the order targets Muslims.
Because of the 10-day advance notice, rather than immediate implementation, chaotic airport disruptions are not expected if the order takes effect Thursday.
Mark Doss, a lawyer with the International Refugee Assistance Project, said attorneys will be ready to respond at airports Thursday “in case there are any issues.”