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Federal Judge Sides With Hawai'i To Block President's Revised Travel Ban

wayne Yoshioka

A Federal District Court Judge ruled in Hawai’i’s favor today to block President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, Hawai’i’s court victory was a cause for celebration at a conference in Waikiki.

“Hawai’i Federal Judge Derrick Watson granted our motion for a temporary restraining order against the President’s second executive order banning travel from six Muslim majority nations.”

Hawai’i Attorney General Doug Chin made the announcement while hosting a Conference of Western Attorneys General in Waikiki.

He attended the U-S District Court hearing earlier in the day in Honolulu.  Chin says the Court ruled that the executive order was unconstitutional and weighed previous remarks made by President Donald Trump when he was running for office.

“Clearly Judge Watson was very focused on a lot of what had been said beforehand to say that it couldn’t be cured by simply inserting a lot of neutral language and then asking everybody to pretend it didn’t happen.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Hawai'i Attorney General Doug Chin and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum prepare to answer questions about the U.S. District Court proceedings in State of Hawai'i versus President Donald Trump, et. al.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is also attending the conference.  She joined 14 other states supporting Hawai’i’s challenge.  She says the President’s revised ban was just a cleaned-up version of his original executive order.

“When there is intent to discriminate, whether it’s on the four corners of the document or whether you need to look outside to the context in which the document was prepared, and intent is an intent.  You cannot snap your fingers and make intent to discriminate go away simply by substituting one document for another.  And that, in essence, what the Court found today.”

Hawai’i was the first and only state to challenge President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.  And, Governor David Ige says current laws provide a rigorous process to screen visitors and ensure the safety of residents.

“What we felt compelled to assure that we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of national origin or religion, because that truly goes against the very essence of what makes Hawai’i a very special place.”

Chin said the Court also ruled that harm was done to the state’s university, tourism and co-plaintiff, Imam Ismail Elsikh.

“What we settled on was a paragraph came in Dr. Elshikh’s declaration where he said that one of his children had actually asked, you know, why is it that my grandmother isn’t able to visit.  Is it because I’m Muslim?”

Chin expects the federal government representing the President to appeal or request the restraining order be suspended.  But, outside U-S District Court earlier in the day, Muslim Association of Hawai’i chairman, Hakim Ouansafi, provided a different perspective.

Credit wayne Yoshioka
Hawai'i Attorney General supporters wave to news media.

“No matter what, in my opinion, is that the state has already won.  It is because of the effort that they have done that those with Green Cards can now travel freely.  So no matter what the outcome, in my opinion, the state has won because they have stood for the small people.  They have stood for the Constitution.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka. 

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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