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Hawaii to Be 1st State to Sue Trump Over New Immigration Ban

Hawaii is expected to become the first state in the nation to challenge President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

By Timothy Hurley

Hawaii is expected to become the first state in the nation to challenge President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu today, state attorneys said they would be asking a federal judge as soon as Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the new executive order.

Ismail Elshikh, imam of the Muslim Association of Hawai'i, is listed as co-plaintiff.

Trump's revised order, issued Monday, continued to impose a 90-day ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority nations but removed Iraq from the list of countries of origin. It also exempts permanent residents and current visa holders, and discontinued language offering preferential status to persecuted religious minorities.

State Attorney General Doug Chin could not be reached for comment late this afternoon, but in a news release this evening he confirmed the state's next move. "The state of Hawaii intends to pursue legal action regarding President Trump's new travel ban, which was issued yesterday," he said. "The state, together with the Department of Justice, asked Judge Derrick K. Watson for an expedited briefing schedule on a motion for temporary restraining order. If Judge Watson agrees, this schedule will allow the court to hear the state's motion before the new travel ban goes into effect on March 16, 2017."

He said the state anticipates filing a second amended complaint and a motion for temporary restraining order soon.

Neal Katyal, a Washington D.C., attorney who is representing the state, today tweeted: "Here we go. Proud to stand w/State of Hawaii challenging Pres.Trump's 'new' Executive Order issued yesterday."

According to the web site of Katyal's firm, the state today filed a joint motion setting out a proposed court schedule. Under the schedule, the temporary restraining order would be filed Wednesday. The U.S. government would file their opposition Monday and oral argument would be held March 15. The district court has not yet ruled on the request, according to the web site.

Chin appeared at a press conference at the Muslim Association of Hawai'i mosque in Manoa earlier today, but he did not mention the suit.

Chin urged people to stand up against the executive order, which he earlier described as "Muslim Ban 2.0." He said Trump has sold the executive order under the pretense that it is essential for national security and safety. But Chin said that's not what it's about.

"It's about discrimination," he said. "It's discriminating against people based on their national origin or based on their religion. It's disenfranchising people who are not of the majority race or majority religion. It puts them in a place that smears their culture or a religion that is not accepted by everyone else. And that's wrong."

(c)2017 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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