Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took to Twitter this evening to declare she’s “glad” that a Hawaii federal judge froze President Donald Trump’s second executive order prohibiting entry to people from six Muslim-majority countries—just hours before before the new travel ban was scheduled to go into effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson decided to enjoin the edict’s implementation this evening, arguing that remarks by both the president himself and members of his administration made it clear that the intent of the executive order was to target the Muslim community, not to fulfill its putative purpose of reviewing of the security screening processes of the affected nations. The order would have enacted a 90-day moratorium on new visa applications for people coming from Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on those coming from Syria.
It replaced an earlier White House fiat that imposed even stricter terms, included Iraq and impacted people cleared to enter the country under former President Barack Obama. That last aspect provoked detentions and mass protests at the nation’s airports, and caused several judges to restraining orders preventing the administration from enforcing the decree—which ultimately led the president to attempt a redo.
Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined his fellow attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the second Muslim travel ban in the Western District of Washington. He also filed an amicus brief in support of the Hawaii lawsuit.
He called Watson’s decision a “victory for the Constitution and the rule of law” and said that his office will continue to “aggressively pursue our claims” against Trump’s “unconstitutional order.”
“President Trump’s second executive order is just a Muslim Ban by another name—with the same unlawful and unconstitutional goal of discriminating based on religion and national origin,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “As Judge Watson pointed out in today’s order, the ‘illogic’ of the Trump administration’s policies is ‘palpable.'”
Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who has hosted town halls on the first Muslim travel ban and on Trump’s first 30 days in office, also praised Watson’s decision on social media.
Advocates praised the judge’s decision, but vowed to remain vigilant.
“We will closely monitor this issue over the next few days and keep our clients abreast of any developments,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement. “Meanwhile, our lawyers will continue hosting Know Your Rights forums for families in each borough and our ICE detention hotline remains a resource for those caught up in the overzealous federal immigration raids of the last several weeks.”