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Second judge rules against Trump's latest travel ban

Travel ban blocked

A Maryland federal judge is the second to rule against the latest version of President Trump's travel ban in the space of two days, putting the brakes on the administration's plans to restrict travel by citizens from eight countries, the Washington Post first reported.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued the ruling early Wednesday, citing Mr. Trump's own remarks on the 2016 campaign trail, official campaign statements and his past Tweets were effectively an unconstitutional Muslim ban. 

"The evidence offered by Plaintiffs includes numerous statements by President Trump expressing an intent to issue a Muslim ban or otherwise conveying anti-Muslim sentiments," wrote Chuang.

He pointed to a record of Mr. Trump's past statements that he said directly establish "that Trump intended to effectuate a partial Muslim ban by banning entry by citizens of specific predominantly Muslim countries deemed to be dangerous, as a means to avoid, for political reasons, an action explicitly directed at Muslims."

The new ruling partially stops the ban -- preventing the administration from enforcing the directive on those who lack a "bona fide" relationship with someone currently residing in the U.S.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, was among those arguing the case, agreed with Chuang's ruling. 

"Like the two versions before it, President Trump's latest travel ban is still a Muslim ban at its core. And like the two before it, this one is going down to defeat in the courts. Religious discrimination with window dressing is still unconstitutional."

Chuang's decision comes after U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii issued his opinion to temporarily block the ban, hours before it was to go into effect early Wednesday morning. Watson found Trump's executive order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor."  

Watson concluded that the latest version of the ban doesn't prove that a person's nationality is reason enough to conclude that an individual is a security threat to the U.S. He wrote that the ban "plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to ... the founding principles of this nation."

The latest travel restrictions would have affected citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen -- and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. Unlike the first two ban attempts, which were also challenged in court, this ban has no expiration date. 

The most recent executive order was intended to enhance vetting capabilities and processes for detecting entry to the U.S. by terrorists, as well as other public safety threats.

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