Hawaiian Demur Against Trump’s Travel Ban

Trump’s controversial travel ban has been under attack since the day it was implemented. Now, on the 8th of March, Hawaii has become the first state to sue the revised version of the ban, on the basis of the violation of the constitution and federal law. Douglas Chin, Hawaii’s Attorney General, released a statement saying that the executive order of a travel ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and exceeds the president’s authority.

The reviewed version was created in response to a federal court’s halt of the first version, which was issued on January 27th. The new order covers nationals from six Muslim countries from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. These people are not allowed to enter the US for 90 days. All refugees are banned from entering for 120 days. Iraq was removed from this list after its inclusion was critiqued as overlooking the country’s role in fighting terrorism. The revised document maintains a 50,000 cap on a refugee inflow, but it no longer covers residents or visa holders. Opinions among human rights researchers were skeptical as the changes made by Trump’s administration were seen as rather cosmetic, and the revised formulation does not change the intent of discrimination against Muslims.

Therefore, Hawaii’s reaction is not surprising. The restriction inflicts immediate damage to the state’s Muslim population, foreign students, and the tourism industry. It is already the second attempt made by Hawaiian state attorneys to block the travel ban. Hawaii had previously filed a suit against the original ban, but the case was put on hold as the federal judge temporarily halted the original ban. Despite the fact that the new order concerns fewer people than the original one, it suffers from the same constitutional defects.

Along with its doubtful legal status, the ban has also the power to trigger anxiety and anger in a given society, which is being wrongfully directed against Muslims. That can aid terrorist organizations’ propaganda, which should be fought against rather than facilitated. Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur claims that the ban “carries a risk of increasing rather reducing the risk of terrorism.” Thus, it cannot be the way to best protect the United States or any other country, for that matter. Other western countries have been increasingly closing their borders to refugees. For some time now, countries have been throwing out numbers of how many refugees they are willing to accept as if they were talking about items, not people. As such, while there is still no system to smooth and accelerate the assimilation of refugees, slamming the door in front of families running away from the horror in their homeland is not the way.