The President had hoped to bring in a law to prevent citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. But Derrick Watson, a district judge in Hawaii, ordered that it be put on hold.
Trump had hoped the new order, which removed any reference to religion, would be legally more watertight than his initial attempt at a travel ban.
Reacting to Judge Watson’s decision, Trump told a rally in Nashville: “A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries.
“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and that should never have been blocked to start with…
“This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.”
However, it appears that the President’s own wording is to blame for the block on the ban.
After calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, Trump said in December 2015: “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Activists and Judge Watson argued that the ban – and Trump’s statements while on the campaign trail – still discriminated on the grounds of nationality and religion, and the intention was to block Muslims, which is in violation of the US constitution.
Judge Watson, who was appointed by President Obama, concluded in his ruling that while the order did not mention Islam by name, “a reasonable, objective observer… would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavour a particular religion”.
Trump’s new ban barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, but Iraq was taken off the list this time.
An indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria was also dropped in the new order.
Top pic: Rex