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Hawai‘i Moves Travel Ban TRO to Preliminary Injunction

March 21, 2017, 2:46 PM HST
* Updated March 21, 2:48 PM
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President Donald Trump’s official portrait from Wikimedia Commons.

Hawai‘i Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the state has moved to convert the temporary restraining order issued last week by Hawai‘i federal judge Derrick K. Watson in the travel ban case into a preliminary injunction.

On March 15, 2017, Judge Watson issued a 43-page opinion enjoining the federal government nationwide from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of a second Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump.

That Executive Order would have restricted immigration from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen, and also temporarily suspended refugee admissions.

The second Executive Order had been scheduled to become effective on March 16, 2017.

“Protecting national security and the safety of our state is critically important, but executive orders must not discriminate against people based on national origin or religion,” Attorney General Chin. “President Trump during his campaign called for a Muslim ban. His comments in the last week indicate he still supports that policy.”

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In today’s filings, Hawai‘i quotes from the following statement made by the president at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee on the evening of March 15 after the federal court had issued its temporary restraining order:

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“The order [Judge Watson] blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with … Remember this. I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, oh, let’s tailor it. This is a watered down version of the first one. This is a watered down version. And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

Today’s filings also describe a television interview later that night during which President Trump stated that it was “very hard” to assimilate Muslims into Western culture.

Under federal court rules, a temporary restraining order expires 14 days after entry, unless the court extends it. In contrast, a preliminary injunction will last as long as directed by the court.

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A hearing on today’s motion is currently scheduled before Judge Watson on March 29, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

The court has advised that the hearing date and time may be changed or vacated upon review of the written briefs. The parties have also stipulated that Judge Watson’s nationwide order of March 15, 2017, shall remain in place until such time as the court rules on whether the TRO should be converted to a preliminary injunction or until otherwise ordered by the court.

Copies of the motion to convert the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction and the memorandum in support of the motion are attached.

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