Less than 24 hours before the third and permanent version of January’s infamous travel ban would have taken effect, a federal judge blocked a majority of it Tuesday afternoon.
The latest version of the travel ban would have indefinitely gone into effect Oct. 18, impacting nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia and North Korea. Not only did the permanence of it make this round different, but so did a Department of Homeland Security report serving as the ban’s justification that played a role in Honolulu’s U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson decision.
Watson ordered the president’s administration to hand over the classified DHS report but was only able to see part of it based on public information, Bloomberg reports. He ultimately ruled the review still didn’t make the ban hold water, which opponents say makes the case against the ban stronger.
As a result, restrictions on all countries except North Korea and Venezuela have been halted. Critics of the ban say adding these two countries doesn’t hide its original intentions that followed statements of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump calling for a total prohibition against Muslims entering the United States.
“Their defense all along has been ‘this is different,'” says Zahra Billoo, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations’ local branch. “I don’t think the additions deter judges from seeing what this is.”
The White House released a statement calling the order “dangerously flawed” and that it’s confident the “lawful and necessary” order will ultimately be upheld by the courts.
The order came out of recommendations from DHS, the State Department, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the agencies reviewed travel security procedures of dozens of countries as the basis for those final eight countries.
In the new ban, nationals of Chad, Yemen, Libya, Syria and North Korea with any type of visas would be barred from entry. Iranian citizens without student or visitor visas are also not allowed.
Somali immigrants wouldn’t be let in at all, while those applying for business or tourist visas will have additional screening measures.
Venezuelan government officials and their families can’t enter the United States, while the rest of its citizen would also have more intense screening measures.
This version and its predecessor replaced the original ban to have stronger legal standing after courts had blocked components of each version. That this one is permanent could mean there won’t be any more replacements and corresponding litigation.
“They have proven themselves to be perpetrators of chaos in some ways,” Billoo says of the executive branch. “It’s already creating so much fear and uncertainty in the community that the sooner the result the better.”
UPDATE, Wednesday Oct. 18 – A federal judge in Maryland also blocked the new travel ban, though to a lesser extent. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang limited the preliminary injunction to block the ban on “individuals with a bona fide relationship with an individual or entity in the United States.”