Friday, March 17, 2017

Two AAPI judges rule that Trump's executive order is a Muslim ban.

Judges Theodore Chuang of Maryland and Derrick Kahala Watson of Hawaii.


HOURS BEFORE the latest executive order was to take effect, two federal judges have hit President Donald Trump with a powerful one-two punch by issuing nationwide orders freezing his executive order on travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Judge Derrick Kahala Watson of Hawaii issued his findings late Wednesday afternoon. Late Wednesday, Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland issued his decision. While Watson's ruling resulted in a TRO, Temporary Restraining Order, Chuang's ruling was a Preliminary Injunction. Both decisions apply nationally.

Both Asian/American jurists were appointed by President Obama and lauded as "measured" and "logical" by their peers on the bench

Chuang called the executive order, which the president revised after a judge in Washington halted his first ban, “the effectuation of the proposed Muslim ban.”

Watson said the new order was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”

Ironically, Mr. Trump's statements to implement a Muslim ban during the campaign and in the first two months of his presidency were used against the executive order despite the administration's attempt to remove any reference to religion.

The face that helped launch a movement.
"These plainly-worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order's stated secular purpose," wrote Watson in his decision.

"Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude, as does the court for purposes of the instant Motion for TRO, that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, 'secondary to a religious objective' of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims," he added.

President Trump, who is stumping to repeal and replace Obamacare, reacted with anger to the latest federal rulings and vowed to appeal the both decisions "all the way to the Supreme Court," if necessary.

"The Constitution has once again put the brakes on President Trump's disgraceful and discriminatory ban. We are pleased but not surprised by this latest development and will continue working to ensure the Muslim ban never takes effect," said ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat, who argued for the case for the challengers in Maryland federal court earlier on Wednesday.

Many civil rights groups have dubbed President Trump’s latest executive order Muslim ban 2.0. In this revised version of the travel restrictions, Iraq was dropped from the list of countries it would impact and supposedly any references to religion were removed. As Trump said, "It's a watered down version" of the first Muslim ban.

“We applaud the court for recognizing the blatant discriminatory intent behind the executive order,” said Elica Vafaie, of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “If this is implemented, it will have devastating consequences for our communities.”

AAJC is urging anyone who is a victim of a hate crime to report it to them on their special website documenting such incidents.

“Today’s ruling underscores that no one, not even a President, can green light discrimination and racism,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together. “Despite the administration’s legal gymnastics, the Muslim Ban 2.0 remains a stimulus package for hate that has already fanned the flames of fear, violence, and tragedy in our communities. We call upon the President to rescind this executive order in full and begin the work of healing our divided and wounded country.”

“This order has nothing to do with national security, and everything to do with encouraging fear of Muslims," said Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).  "Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security has concluded that nationality has little to do with one’s potential to engage in terrorist acts. From the first day that then-candidate Trump stood up to announce his idea of a Muslim ban, he has been painfully clear about his intentions."

“President Trump continues to use hate, fear, and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment to justify a new executive order that divides us and will not protect our country,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “This second Muslim ban continues to run counter to our basic values of inclusion and religious freedom, as well as our history of providing safe haven for refugees.”