Showing posts with label asylum seekers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asylum seekers. Show all posts

Friday, 4 August 2017

The travesty that is Australia's asylum seeker offshore detention policy -"If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here."


It seems the truth will out.

After the United States completes its vetting of asylum seekers held in overseas detention by the Australian Government it is not obliged to take even one of those individuals U.S. immigration officials have examined.

In May 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed 268 people had completed their second-stage security interview with US officials: 220 in Nauru and 48 on Manus Island.

U.S. immigration officials halted screening interviews and departed Nauru on 14 July 2017, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.

However, under the original agreement once that vetting is completed Australia becomes obliged to resettle between 20 and 50 people under a U.S. "Protection Transfer Arrangement" in Costa Rica set up to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Prime Minister Turnbull verbally changed that undertaking to an open-ended number of people the Trump Administration might be “very keen on getting out of the United States”.

There is no indication that the U.S. Government intends to complete its vetting of those detained on Nauru and Manus islands.

The Washington Post, 3 August 2017:

The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations President Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources. The reproductions below also include minor spelling and grammatical mistakes that appeared in the documents………………


JANUARY 28, 2017 FROM 5:05 TO 5:29 P.M. EST.

TURNBULL
Good evening.

TRUMP
Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

TURNBULL
I am doing very well.

TRUMP
And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

TURNBULL
He is a great mutual friend yes.

TRUMP
Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

TURNBULL
Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

TRUMP
Good.

TURNBULL
I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

TRUMP
That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing – it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

TURNBULL
Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

TRUMP
Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

TURNBULL
Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

TRUMP
Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

TURNBULL
Can you hear me out Mr. President?

TRUMP
Yeah, go ahead.

TURNBULL
Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

TRUMP
Who made the deal? Obama?

TURNBULL
Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

TRUMP
Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

TURNBULL
Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

TRUMP
That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

TURNBULL
This is our experience.

TRUMP
Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

TURNBULL
I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

TRUMP
Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

TURNBULL
stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

TRUMP
Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

TURNBULL
With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

TRUMP
Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

TURNBULL
The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

TRUMP
No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

TURNBULL
I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

TRUMP
Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

TURNBULL
But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

TURNBULL
Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed —

TRUMP
Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

TURNBULL
That is the point I have been trying to make.

TRUMP
How does that help you?

TURNBULL
Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

TRUMP
Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

TURNBULL
Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

TRUMP
Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

TURNBULL
Correct, we have stopped the boats.

TRUMP
Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

TURNBULL
These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

TRUMP
Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

TURNBULL
They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

TRUMP
They were from wherever they were.

TURNBULL
Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

TRUMP
What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

TURNBULL
No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

TRUMP
I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

TURNBULL
You will not.

TRUMP
Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

TURNBULL
You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

TRUMP
I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

TURNBULL
Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

TRUMP
[inaudible] this is crazy.

TURNBULL
Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

TRUMP
It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

TURNBULL
You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

TRUMP
I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

TURNBULL
Okay, thank you.
END OF CALL

* My yellow highlighting.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Shorter UN Position: Australia's policy of offshore processing has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long


To add insult to injury our very own J. Edgar Tuber, Peter Craig Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection & just about everything that isn't nailed down, has apparently been lying to the United Nations.


Australia’s policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, which denies access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea without a valid visa, has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long.
Four years on, more than 2,000 people are still languishing in unacceptable circumstances. Families have been separated and many have suffered physical and psychological harm.
In light of this dire humanitarian situation, last November UNHCR exceptionally agreed to help with the relocation of refugees to the United States following a bilateral agreement between Australia and the US. We agreed to do so on the clear understanding that vulnerable refugees with close family ties in Australia would ultimately be allowed to settle there. 
UNHCR has recently been informed by Australia that it refuses to accept even these refugees, and that they, along with the others on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, have been informed that their only option is to remain where they are or to be transferred to Cambodia or to the United States.
This means, for example, that some with serious medical conditions, or who have undergone traumatic experiences, including sexual violence, cannot receive the support of their close family members residing in Australia.
To avoid prolonging their ordeal, UNHCR has no other choice but to endorse the relocation of all refugees on Papua New Guinea and Nauru to the United States, even those with close family members in Australia.  
There is no doubt these vulnerable people, already subject to four years of punishing conditions, should be reunited with their families in Australia. This is the humane and reasonable thing to do. 
The Australian government’s decision to deny them this possibility is contrary to the fundamental principles of family unity and refugee protection, and to common decency. 
UNHCR fully endorses the need to save lives at sea and to provide alternatives to dangerous journeys and exploitation by smugglers. But the practice of offshore processing has had a hugely detrimental impact. There is a fundamental contradiction in saving people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land.  
Australia has a proud humanitarian tradition, manifested in its support for overseas aid and its longstanding refugee resettlement programme. I urge Australia to bring an immediate end to the harmful practice of offshore processing, offer solutions to its victims, for whom it retains full responsibility, and work with us on future alternatives that save lives at sea and provide protection to people in need.
At a time of record levels of displacement globally, it is crucial that all States offer protection to survivors of war and persecution, and not outsource their responsibilities to others. Refugees, our fellow human beings, deserve as much.
 Background
Approximately 2,500 refugees and asylum-seekers have been forcibly transferred by Australia to ‘offshore processing’ facilities in Papua New Guinea and Nauru since the introduction of the current policy in 2013. Of these, some 1,100 remain in Nauru and 900 in Papua New Guinea.
Following the Australia-US bilateral agreement on relocation, UNHCR has referred more than 1,100 refugees to the US over the past eight months. Another 500 people are still waiting for the outcome of the refugee status determination processing being carried out by authorities in PNG and Nauru, under the Australian arrangement.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Is this the Peter Dutton version of "Children Overboard"*


Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Liberal MP for Dixon and multi-millionaire Peter Craig Dutton during a Sky News interview on 20 April  2017:

“There was an alleged incident where three asylum seekers were alleged to be leading a local five-year-old boy back toward the facility”

ABC TV Insiders, excerpt, 23 April 2017:
CASSIDY: I want to ask you about the recent disturbance at Manus Island. You recently linked that to a situation where you said that a 5-year-old boy was led away by three asylum seekers and that caused the mood to elevate quite quickly. Now, that's not true, is it?
DUTTON: Of course, it is true.
CASSIDY: It's not true.
DUTTON: It is true. And the briefing that I've had is particularly succinct and clear.
CASSIDY: Who gave you this information?
DUTTON: Well Barrie, I have senior people on the island. We also have obviously, significant contacts with the governor and people of Manus.
CASSIDY: You didn't speak with the police commander, clearly?
DUTTON: I can give you the facts in relation to it or you can take the Twitter version.
CASSIDY: Well let me give you what I understand the facts to be. The boy wasn't five, he was ten. It didn't happen on the day of the disturbance, it happened a week before the disturbance and there's CCTV footage outside of tent number one that shows the boy went inside and the people are packing fruit into plastic bags. They gave him the fruit and he left.
DUTTON: So let me give you the facts. The fact is that as people would understand, Manus Island is home not only to the regional processing centre but also to the naval base there as well. The point that I was making and certainly the clear advice that I received was that there had been a ramping up in terms of the mood on the ground over a period of time which included a sexual assault, to which you've made no reference, separate to any incident that we're talking about here.
CASSIDY: The sexual assault, that you're talking about two people have been charged with sexual assault but deny the charges.
DUTTON: So as you imagine ...
CASSIDY: You're an ex-Queensland policeman. You know that you're presumed innocent don't you?
DUTTON: Of course, but you're going to the mood on the ground which is not something that you need to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court. You're talking about what the elevation of the mood was on the ground and it was elevated by these allegations around this sexual assault. Now let that go through the courts -
CASSIDY: Elevated by the incident involving the 5-year-old boy?
DUTTON: Well just let me finish. So you've got the sexual assault, which as you say, can be heard in court. Everybody deserves innocence and I don't make any judgement about that. But I'm saying that that it did elevate the mood on the ground. And second to that, there is this incident which is being investigated by the police. Now, that will run its course.
CASSIDY: The police are investigating this incident around the 5-year-old boy?
DUTTON: Yes, they are.
CASSIDY: Do they understand that he's 10 and not 5?
DUTTON: I'll leave the detail to them.
CASSIDY: The detail is important in these matters?
DUTTON: It is. But if your claim is that the mood on the ground hadn't been elevated ...
CASSIDY: It's not my claim. The police commander says that there's CCTV footage showing that the boy was waiting outside the gate, he was looking for food. Food was placed into a plastic bag and given to him. He was ten years old and it happened a week before the disturbance and he left. That's the extent of it. Now how is that relevant to anything?
DUTTON: Well Barrie, I'm not sure whether you can be the judge, jury and executioner in this matter.
CASSIDY: The police commander said this.
DUTTON: Let's allow the police investigation to be conducted.
CASSIDY: Well why didn't you do that? Why didn't you let that happen?
DUTTON: I received different advice from that.
CASSIDY: Why didn't you let the investigation happen before you pre-empted it?
DUTTON: I was asked why the mood had elevated on the ground on Manus Island. These two incidents fed directly into that. That is indisputable. So if you're asking me about why there was an elevation of the angst between those that are living, including on the naval base on Manus, this was part of it. And that was the clear advice to me.
CASSIDY: Do you accept that you got some of the information badly wrong?
DUTTON: No, I do not. And again -
CASSIDY: The age of the boy? The intentions, whether he was led into the facility? He went in and took a plastic bag of fruit and left?
DUTTON: Again Barrie, I think that there are facts that I have that you don't so why don't we let the police investigation run its course and allow them some independent analysis of it because if you're asking me why the mood elevated, these two incidents fed into it and I have that on very good authority on the island. The parents of the boy involved in the incident might have a different view to the one that you have read off tweets and that's fine.
CASSIDY: The police commander said that this happened because there was a soccer game going on beyond a six o'clock curfew and that's what caused the disturbance and he said that some of the PNG soldiers were drunk. And yet, you put all of the blame on the asylum seekers.
DUTTON: I didn't put any blame anywhere. I was asked a question as to why the mood was elevated, I've answered that question honestly and on advice. In relation to the soccer game and the incident otherwise, yes absolutely, that's part of the facts of the whole lead-up to this unfortunate incident. Now, it's being properly investigated by the chief of defence in PNG, by the police commissioner, as it should. I also make the point -- in that interview, which you don't note, I make the point that shots being fired or behaviour as it is reported is completely unacceptable and it should be investigated. I made that point, which you neglect to make reference to. And it is important that this investigation take place, that it is properly looked at and if people are charged or whatever comes out of it, as you say, let them have their fair day in court.
CASSIDY: What would clear it up and it would help to clear up any reflection on you over your version of events is the CCTV footage. Would you allow that to be released so that everybody can be clear on what happened?
DUTTON: Barrie, the police investigation will take place -
CASSIDY: And after that, do you think that it would be appropriate to release the footage?
DUTTON: - if people are charged in relation to it to allow the course to be run.
CASSIDY: But if there's no charges and nothing happened here? Are you happy to have that footage released?
DUTTON: Well we will continue to release footage as is the normal practice now. I'm not making an exception one way or the other in relation to this case. If it is appropriate for it, and that's been the practice in the past, then that will happen. But that is an issue for the PNG Government. They run Manus Island, as you know. We inherited the mess of Manus Island from the Labor Party. We've stopped the boats and we want to get people off Manus island as quickly as possible. We've done that in terms of the negotiation with the US. Kevin Rudd's deal with the PNG Government had no outcome at all for people on Manus island. We are not adding to people on Manus island. We're not repopulating through new boat arrivals because we have stopped boats. But our job now is to get people off. We're doing that as quickly as possible. But we face all of the barriers in terms of returns that we spoke about before……

Given this performance (and a previous instance) one has to wonder about the quality of any evidence given to the courts by Mr. Dutton during the 1990s when he served as a Queensland police officer in the Drug Squad, Sex Offenders Squad and with the National Crime Authority.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Trump's 'Muslim Ban' Mk2 also falls at first judicial hurdle


Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Minnesota and Maryland joined with the State of Washington in seeking to restrain U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order of 6 March 2017 which revised his earlier order of  February 2017.

Along with Hawaii in separate litigation that makes seven states opposing what is colloquially known as Trump’s Muslim Ban.

AP News, 16 March 2017:

HONOLULU (AP) — Hours before it was to take effect, President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge in Hawaii who questioned whether the administration was motivated by national security concerns.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order blocked the flow of students and tourists to the state, and he concluded that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.

"The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable," Watson wrote. "The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed."…..

The judge issued his 43-page ruling less than two hours after hearing Hawaii's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the ban from being put into practice.

The ruling came as opponents renewed their legal challenges across the country, asking judges in three states to block the executive order that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments Wednesday about whether it should be allowed to take effect early Thursday as scheduled.

In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban.

Watson made it clear that his decision applied nationwide, ruling that the ban could not be enforced at any U.S. borders or ports of entry or in the issuance of visas…..

Court transcript of the temporary restraining order granted can be found here.

Seattle Times, 15 March 2017:

A Seattle federal judge who ruled against President Donald Trump’s first immigrant travel ban has taken another challenge to the president’s revised order under advisement, this one filed by the families of immigrants that have been separated because of the policy.

U.S. District Judge James Robart remained skeptical of the government’s continued claims that the president can bar people from immigrating because of their nationality. Attorneys for the families argued that statutes governing the issuance of immigrant visas specifically prohibit such discrimination.

Robart heard nearly 90 minutes of arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging the travel order filed by several legal immigrants who are separated from their families and who fear the new order will prolong that separation. Their family members all are in various stages of attempting to obtain visas to enter the U.S.

The latest travel ban was set to go into effect at midnight Wednesday. However, a federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday put the revised travel ban on hold.

Matt Adams, the legal director for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which is spearheading the immigrant-family lawsuit, said the Hawaii order is a godsend for his clients, who will benefit from any delay in the order’s implementation.

Still, he said they will pursue a restraining order of their own.

Robart did not say when he would rule on the suit filed by several immigrants.

Daily Mail 14 March 2017:

Immigrant advocacy groups and the ACLU are suing in Maryland. They will ask a judge there early Wednesday to issue an injunction, saying it's illegal to reduce the number of refugees in the middle of a fiscal year. The lawsuit is broader, but the ACLU expects a ruling on that part of the case even if other aspects of the ban are blocked elsewhere.

The Baltimore Sun, 16 March 2017:

The Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued a ruling early Thursday, using Trump's own comments against him in deciding the ban was likely unconstitutional.

The Maryland ruling marks another win for challengers of the president's executive order, which had been slated to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Trump expressed his displeasure in a typically dishonest prepared political speech he read from two transparent autocues.


Full speech video at https://youtu.be/z9ghcGzkpZo.

The revised text of the travel ban: