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Hawaii seeks to block latest travel ban, adds plaintiffs

HONOLULU — Lawyers representing Hawaii asked a judge Tuesday to stop the Trump administration from enforcing the latest version of its travel ban.

The updated ban — set to take effect next week — is a continuation of President Donald Trump’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States,” Hawaii said in court documents filed Tuesday in federal court.

Hawaii is seeking a nationwide order against the ban that removes Sudan from the list of affected countries and adds Chad and North Korea, along with several officials from the government of Venezuela.

The addition of non-Muslim countries is “almost entirely symbolic,” the court documents state, noting that North Korea is already subject to extensive restrictions.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin has been battling President Donald Trump on travel bans since February, after the president sought to bar new visas for people from seven mostly Muslim countries.

In March, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu agreed with Hawaii that the ban amounted to discrimination based on nationality and religion.

A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate a 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on refugees from anywhere in the world.

On Tuesday, Hawaii also filed a proposed amended lawsuit targeting the newest policy and adding plaintiffs who lawyers say will be harmed if it goes into effect.

That motion came after Watson decided last week that he would give Hawaii an opportunity to make its case to challenge the latest ban.

The government will have until Saturday to respond before Watson issues a ruling.

The proposed amended suit adds two new plaintiffs — an American citizen of Yemeni descent who has lived in Hawaii for nearly 30 years and a University of Hawaii professor whose mother is an Iranian national who wants to visit her son.

They were not named in the filing because they “reasonably fear severe retaliation in the event their names are publicly disclosed,” Hawaii said in a motion asking to include plaintiffs under pseudonyms.

Another new plaintiff is the Muslim Association of Hawaii, which the state says will be harmed financially because the mosque relies on contributions from members and visitors.

The policy will “hamper the mosque’s ability to welcome new members and visitors from the affected countries, and will cause current members to leave the country,” lawyers for Hawaii said.

A challenge to the latest ban is also proceeding in Maryland, where the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups had previously sued over earlier versions of the ban.

The ACLU announced last month it would challenge the latest ban and is seeking a preliminary injunction suspending the visa and entry restrictions. A judge has scheduled a hearing in that case and two similar challenges for Monday.

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Supreme Court dismisses 1 of 2 travel ban cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed one of two cases over President Donald Trump’s ban on visitors from mostly Muslim countries, suggesting it will step away from the controversy for now.

The court got rid of a case that originated in Maryland and involves a ban that has now expired and been replaced by a new version.

But the justices took no action on a separate case from Hawaii. That dispute concerns both the travel ban and a separate ban on refugees, which does not expire until Oct. 24.

Dismissing the cases would allow the court to avoid ruling on difficult legal issues, at least for a while.

The justices had combined the two cases and set them for argument that was to have taken place Tuesday. But after the travel ban expired last month and a new policy was rolled out, the court canceled the argument and began to weigh whether it should decide the legality of the policy after all.

The third and latest version of the travel ban is supposed to take full effect Oct. 18 and already has been challenged in the courts.

Five of the six countries included in the travel ban the Supreme Court was supposed to review remain in the latest version.

 

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