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Federal Judge In Hawaii Extends His Block On Trump Travel Ban

The Prince Jonah Kuhio Federal Building and US District Courthouse on March 9 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

President Trump's executive order to restrict travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries and suspend the U.S. refugee program has been blocked indefinitely.

The state of Hawaii sued to stop the travel ban, arguing the president's policy violates the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson has extended his nationwide order blocking the executive order while the lawsuit continues.

Hawaii officials argued that the ban — a modified version issued after the first executive order was also blocked by federal courts — discriminates against travelers on the basis of religion. Watson said in his ruling that the state had shown "a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim, that irreparable injury is likely if the requested relief is not issued."

As the Two-Way has reported, the president sought to deny entry to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.

The first part of the executive order, affecting travelers from the six majority-Muslim countries, was also blocked by a U.S. district judge in Maryland. That preliminary injunction remains in effect. The Trump administration is appealing the Maryland ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Trump administration promised "extreme vetting" of people seeking visas, and has issued guidelines in a series of memorandums from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to U.S. embassies.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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