Second judge freezes Trump travel ban

Maryland federal judge says Trump's newest travel ban violates the Constitution.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

A second judge ordered a freeze on U.S. President Donald Trump's newest travel ban order on Wednesday, saying it was essentially targeted at Muslims in violation of the Constitution, AFP reports.

Maryland federal judge Theodore Chuang said the ban affecting travelers from six majority-Muslim countries and North Korea, as well as many officials from Venezuela, essentially had not changed from the first two versions.

He pointed out, as in earlier rulings, that Trump had repeatedly promised a ban on Muslims coming into the country during last year's presidential election.

The ruling follows a ruling on Tuesday by a federal district court in Hawaii, which temporarily blocked the majority of Trump’s travel ban from taking effect.

Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the third iteration of Trump's targeted restrictions on travel from eight countries, which was issued on September 24, suffers from the same maladies as the previous order.

Trump’s order, which was set to take effect on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., would have indefinitely banned immigration into the U.S. by nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela.

The Justice Department said Tuesday it would appeal the Hawaiian court's decision "in an expeditious manner."

The White House blasted the ruling, calling the order "dangerously flawed."

Trump has battled with the courts since the first version of the ban, and in June gained Supreme Court approval to implement an amended second version for 90 days, which ended last month.

U.S. officials maintain that the restrictions in the new travel ban are based on an objective worldwide review, not based on origin or religion.

Trump's travel bans are temporary, until proper vetting procedures – a central campaign promise of his – can be implemented.