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Trump brought down by his own words as second travel and refugee ban is blocked

Josh Jackman March 16, 2017

Donald Trump’s second refugee and travel executive order has been blocked just hours before it was set to come into effect – by using his own words.

A federal judge in Hawaii granted the temporary restraining order, which will apply nationwide.

The executive order had been widely criticised, including by LGBT rights groups who said it amounted to a death sentence for LGBT refugees unable to leave their countries.

PinkNews has reported on one such refugee, Texan Paul Harrison’s fiancé, who is in the process of applying for a visa from Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death.

The ban would have suspended the US’s refugee programme for 90 days, and blocked people from six Muslim-majority countries from applying for new visas for 120 days.

Judge Derrick Watson tore the government apart while explaining his decision, pointing to Trump’s own comments throughout his campaign that he wished to establish a “Muslim ban”.

“The Government…cautions that, in determining purpose, courts should not look into the ‘veiled psyche’ and ‘secret motives’ of government decisionmakers,” Judge Watson wrote.

“The Government need not fear. The remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry.

“For instance, there is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release: ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’”

Pointing to comments made in the last few months by advisers (seen above), the judge wrote: “These plainly-worded statements…betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose”.

He added that this purpose, of security, was “at the very least, ‘secondary to a religious objective’ of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims.”

The judge said those arguing against the executive order would have a “strong likelihood of success” of proving it violated the US Constitution.

The government tried to argue that the ban could not be prejudicial, as it was aimed at just nine percent of the global Muslim population.

The judge knocked this down in a stinging rebuke, stating: “The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable.

“The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.”

At a campaign-style rally in Nashville soon after the decision, Trump came out with statements which could be similarly used against him in future.

He said the new order was a “watered-down version” of the original order and threatened to “go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

The first order was also blocked by the courts.

He also accused Judge Watson of “unprecedented judicial overreach,” and asked the crowd: “You don’t think this was done by a judge for political reasons, do you?”

In February, Trump called the judge who blocked the first ban a “so-called judge”.

The second order would bar people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – but not Iraq, which was included in the original order.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “We are pleased but not surprised by this latest development and will continue working to ensure the Muslim ban never takes effect.”

More: district judge, Donald Trump, executive order, gay refugees, Hawaii, Iran, Iraq, Judge Derrick Watson, Libya, Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers, Rudy Giuliani, Somalia, Stephen Miller, Sudan, Syria, US, Yemen

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