A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from enforcing its latest travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect, saying the president's revised order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor." It was the third set of travel restrictions issued by President Donald Trump to be thwarted, in whole or in part, by the courts. US District Judge Derrick Watson issued the ruling after the ban was challenged by the state of Hawaii, which warned that the restrictions would separate families and undermine the recruiting of diverse college students, the AP reports. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the ruling "dangerously flawed" and said it "undercuts the president's efforts to keep the American people safe." The Justice Department said it will quickly appeal.
Watson, appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling against Trump's previous ban. The latest version "plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to ... the founding principles of this nation," Watson wrote. Hawaii argued the updated ban was a continuation of Trump's campaign call for a ban on Muslims, despite the addition to the list of two countries without a Muslim majority. In his ruling, the judge said the new ban, like its predecessor, fails to show that nationality alone makes a person a greater security risk to the US. Other courts are also weighing challenges to the ban. In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions. Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland are challenging the order in front of the same federal judge in Seattle who struck down Trump's initial ban in January.