President Trump’s new travel ban hit its first judicial roadblock on Wednesday after a federal judge in Hawaii froze the administration’s executive order temporarily barring visas from six mostly Muslim countries and halting the admission of new refugees.
U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii froze the order nationwide.
Two more judges, one in Maryland and another in Washington, heard arguments Wednesday on whether to freeze the order.
Hawaii’s case was filed by the state itself. Lawyers for the state argued that the new travel ban violates the First Amendment — which prohibits religious discrimination — because it is essentially a Muslim ban.
The state also contends that the ban hurts Hawaii’s ability to recruit top talent and damages the state’s tourism industry.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department argued that the president had the authority to impose the ban, and that the lawyers challenging the ban had done little more than speculate about damage.
The president’s most recent executive order, signed earlier this month, aims to suspend refugees from entering the country for 120 days, halt new visas from six Muslim-majority countries and reduce the number of refugees entering the country this year from 110,000 to 50,000.