Hawaii files lawsuit against Trump's new travel ban

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, March 9 (IANS) Hawaii has become the first state in the US to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, saying the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.

Attorneys for the state filed the lawsuit against the US government on Wednesday in the federal court in Honolulu. The state had sued over Trump's initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country, CNN reported.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said the new version is fundamentally the same as the first, calling it "Muslim Ban 2.0".

The revised order, which takes effect on March 16, places a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations and a 120-day ban on all refugees. It replaces an initial order issued in January, which sparked confusion at airports and mass protests in the US.

The previous order was subsequently halted by a federal court following legal challenges across the country.

Chin said that despite changes Trump made to his first executive order, the new one amounted to the same policy "dressed up differently", the New York Times reported.

"Any time you have an executive order or some government decision that's calling out people by their nation of origin or by religion, we've got to be a check against that," he said.

"Nothing of substance has changed: There is the same blanket ban on entry from Muslim-majority countries (minus one)," Chin said.

The new order will bar entry of citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days. Iraq, which was included in the first ban, has been taken off the list.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the filing, but will have an opportunity to respond to the state's amended complaint against the travel ban on March 13, CNN report said.

"The entire history and culture of Hawaii is based upon non-discrimination either in its constitution as well as its laws," Chin told CNN affiliate KHON.

"Hawaii has 20 per cent foreign-born residents and 100,000 people who are not citizens as well as 20 per cent of our workforce that are not foreign born," he said.

Hawaii is also joined in the lawsuit by an American who is the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii and says he has lived in the state for over a decade with his wife and children, but now his Syrian mother-in-law cannot visit them because she does not currently hold a visa to enter the US, according to the report.

Trump has not yet commented on Hawaii's latest legal bid, but had previously insisted he has the right to enact such an executive order and hit out at "so political" courts.

--IANS

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