President Donald Trump’s revised ban on travel to the United States from six predominately Muslim countries suffered yet another blow on Wednesday as a federal judge in Hawaii extended indefinitely an order blocking enforcement of the policy.
The order arose out of the lawsuit brought by the state of Hawaii challenging Trump’s travel directive as unconstitutional religious discrimination.
Trump signed the new ban on March 6 in a bid to overcome legal problems with a January executive order that caused chaos at airports and sparked mass protests before a Washington judge stopped its enforcement in February. Trump has said the travel ban is needed for national security.
Hawaii and other opponents of the ban claim that the motivation behind it is based on religion and Trump’s election campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Meanwhile, the city of Seattle has sued President Trump’s administration over its executive order seeking to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities,” arguing it amounted to unconstitutional federal coercion.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told reporters the Constitution forbade the federal government from pressuring cities, “yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Once again, this new administration has decided to bully.”
“Things like grants helping us with child sex trafficking are not connected to immigration,” Murray said, adding: “It is time for cities to stand up and ask the courts to put an end to the anxiety in our cities and the chaos in our system.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on Monday to strip Justice Department grants from cities and other local governments that choose to shield illegal immigrants from deportation efforts.
Trump, who made tougher immigration enforcement a cornerstone of his campaign, directed the government in his Jan. 25 executive order to cut off funding to sanctuary jurisdictions. That order has yet to be put into effect, but Sessions’ announcement seemed to be the first step in doing so.
Seattle’s action was the latest legal salvo over the Trump immigration order from local governments across the country, including the city of San Francisco and California’s Santa Clara County.
Police agencies in dozens of “sanctuary” cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have barred their officers from routinely checking on immigration status when making arrests or traffic stops. They have also refused to detain people longer than otherwise warranted at the request of federal agents seeking to deport them.