Travel Ban Fight 2.0 Headed to Seattle

A Seattle federal judge who originally blocked President Trump’s travel ban last month said Friday he won’t rule on whether the revised travel order, set to take effect next week, may proceed until both sides file appropriate motions.

Judge James Robart said the U.S. Justice Department notified him of the new executive order that made changes to the first travel ban order but did not ask the judge to modify  his nationwide injunction to allow the March 16 scheduled implementation.

Nor did the plaintiffs, the state of Washington, seek an order to block implementation, but simply notified Robart that the changes were not lawful, in the state’s view.

Robarts said he would reserve judgment and not make any action until either the DOJ seeks to modify the injunction, or the state files an amended challenge.

The state has said it will filed an amended complaint challenging the revised travel ban by March 15.

On January 27, the travel ban order caused chaoss at airports around the country as citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, who had been given valid visas earlier to enter the U.S. were blocked at airports around the country.

In addition, at least another 60,000 visas previously granted were suspended in the wake of the order, although some lawyers for refugees put the number closer to 100,000.

Washington state sued arguing that the travel ban harmed the state by adversely affecting employment, education, business, family relations and freedom to travel.

The DOJ issued a revised order on March 6, that eliminated Iraq from the seven-country travel ban. It eliminated language that Christians from those countries would be given an advantage over Muslims seeking entry to the U.S. And it allowed those traveling on previously approved visas to continue to be admitted to the U.S.

The state has said the new version still violates the U.S. Constitution’s establishment clause, barring establishment of a state religion, or religious preferences.

Case: Washington v. Trump, No. 17-171

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