A federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide order on October 17, 2017, blocking implementation of a Presidential Proclamation issued by President Donald Trump on September 24, 2017, titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.”  The Presidential Proclamation was scheduled to be implemented on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

In a legal action titled State of Hawai’I, Ismail Elshikh, John Does 1 & 2, and Muslim Association of Hawaii, Inc. vs. Donald J. Trump, et. al., US District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson issued a 40-page decision, enjoining, nationwide, Sections 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), and (h) of the Proclamation.  These sections would, among other directives, suspend indefinitely the entry into the United States of certain nationals of six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  The decision discussed the indefinite nature of the travel suspensions, and confirmed that “[t]he generalized findings regarding each country's performance...do not support the vast scope of” the directive.

The decision did not enjoin an indefinite suspension of entry into the United States of certain nationals from North Korea and Venezuela.  These portions of the Proclamation remain scheduled for implementation on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

Judge Watson further stated that the Proclamation lacked sufficient evidence to support the breadth of the travel ban, and:

“contains internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated 'national security' rationale.  Numerous countries fail to meet one or more of the global baseline criteria described in [the directive], yet are not included in the ban...Moreover, [the order's] individualized country findings make no effort to explain why some types of visitors from a particular country are banned, while others are not.”

Among other injuries alleged by the plaintiffs, the court noted that the plaintiffs were “likely to prevail” on their allegation that the Proclamation violates multiple provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  The court stated that it intends to set an expedited briefing and hearing schedule in this matter to determine whether the Temporary Restraining Order should be extended. This decision, as well as ongoing litigation in a federal district court in Maryland, will likely be reviewed by the appellate courts before the cases are heard on the merits.