By Shanelle Macaraeg
The ongoing case of State of Hawaii v. Trump remains on hold pending a court hearing on Monday.
The first executive order establishing a travel ban was issued on Jan. 27, just seven days after President Trump’s inauguration.
Titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” the order prevented legal immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East from entering the U.S. The order was also a direct suspension of President Obama’s 2012 Visa Interview Waver Program that allowed frequent U.S. tourists to bypass the visa interview process.
On March 6, revisions were made to the travel ban order in attempt to address legal objections. The new order excludes Iraq but still applies to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and still seeks to reduce the yearly amount of refugees admitted to the US from 110,000 to 50,000.
According to Executive Order 13780, “the risk of erroneously permitting entry of a national of one of these countries who intends to commit terrorist acts or otherwise harm the national security of the United States is unacceptably high.”
“Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake,” said John F. Kelly, secretary of homeland security, told the New York Times.
Hawai`i Attorney General Douglas S. Chin was the first to file lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order, alleging it undermine constitutional and statutory rights of the state’s residents. Neal Katyal is the lead attorney representing the State of Hawaii in the case.
After the travel ban was revised, National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep, host of Morning Edition, spoke with Katyal about the case and the delayed implementation of the travel ban.
“The fundamental thing here is that the objection has never been really just about whether it goes into effect immediately or not,” Katyal said. “It’s about the constitutional and statutory values of the United States.”
In the interview, Katyal referred to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
The law states: “No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
“That’s as clear as day,” Katyal said. “Indeed, a conservative set of judges in the D.C. Circuit, our nation’s second-highest court, said this is an unambiguous, easy-to-follow command.
“For the first time, the president is seeking to name certain countries as ones that are, you know, on the bad list.”
In response to Innskeep’s question, Katyal said the travel ban is properly understood as a constitutionally impermissible Muslim ban.
“I’m very proud to stand with the attorney general of Hawaii, Douglas Chin, who’s been a leader in this in understanding this order for what it truly is, which is discrimination on the basis of religion,” Katyal said.
On March 29, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson of Hawai`i granted a nationwide preliminary injunction on the executive order, halting its effects. Watson’s action followed a similar ruling by a federal court in Maryland.
Another judge recently declined to endorse the travel ban. Judge Tanya S. Chukan on Thursday of the federal district court in the District of Columbia said the best course of action is to delay proceedings until appeals from the rulings in Maryland and Hawaii are resolved.
The appeal of Watson’s ruling is set for oral argument before a three-judge panel at 6:30 a.m. HST on Monday in Seattle. The hearing can be watched live here: https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/live_oral_arguments.php