More US states challenge Trump travel ban

Protesters outside the White House after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on a revised travel ban.Image copyright

Image caption

Protesters return to the White House to rally against the revised travel ban

Three US states have joined Hawaii in a legal challenge against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.

Mr Trump signed an executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim countries on Monday.

New York maintains the new directive is a ban on Muslims while Washington contends it is harmful to the state. Massachusetts later joined them.

Minnesota and Oregon are reportedly also filing lawsuits seeking to block the ban, which begins on 16 March.

The White House has said it is “very confident” the ban will win in court.

The renewed legal challenges come after attorneys for Hawaii filed a lawsuit against the revised order on Wednesday night, arguing it would harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.

Hawaii was among other states that had previously sued over the president’s initial travel ban, but the legal challenge was halted until courts ruled on similar cases across the country.

The revised ban bars new visas for people from: Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. It also temporarily blocks all refugees.

The previous order, which Mr Trump signed in January, was blocked in federal courts and sparked mass protests as well as confusion at airports.

But critics maintain the revised travel ban discriminates against Muslims.

Media captionNew US travel ban: What’s different?

“President Trump’s latest executive order is a Muslim Ban by another name, imposing policies and protocols that once again violate the Equal Protection Clause and Establishment Clause of the United State Constitution,” said New York Attorney General Eric T Schneiderman after announcing his legal challenge.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who was the first to sue over the original ban, said he would ask a federal judge to rule that the temporary restraining halting the first travel ban “remains in effect”.

“We’re asserting that the president cannot unilaterally declare himself free of the court’s restraining order and injunction,” he said.

Though the White House has faced mounting criticism over its immigration orders, Trump supporters say the president is fulfilling his campaign promises to protect Americans.

Media caption‘We trust President Trump on travel ban’

What is different about the new order?

Citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the other six countries on the original 27 January order, will once more be subject to a 90-day travel ban.

Iraq has been taken off the banned list because its government has boosted visa screening and data sharing, White House officials said.

The new directive says refugees already approved by the State Department can enter the US. It also lifts an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees.

Green Card holders (legal permanent residents of the US) from the named countries will not be affected.

The new order does not give priority to religious minorities, unlike the previous directive.

Critics of the Trump administration had argued that this was an unlawful policy showing preference to Christian refugees.

More US states challenge Trump travel ban