Washington: Hawaii has become the first state in the US to file a lawsuit against President Trumps revised travel ban, saying that it will disrupt families, harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students and is “antithetical to Hawaii’s state identity and spirit”.
Attorneys for the state filed the lawsuit against the US government on Wednesday in the federal court in Honolulu. The state had sued over Trump’s initial travel ban too, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country, USA Today reported.
“For many in Hawaii, including state officials, the executive order conjures up the memory of the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the imposition of martial law and Japanese internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbour,” the suit filed by Attorney General Douglas Chin asserted.
“Hawaii is special in that it has always been non-discriminatory in both its history and constitution,” Chin said.
“Twenty per cent of the people are foreign-born, 100,000 are non-citizens and 20 percent of the labour force is foreign-born.”
Chin said the new version is fundamentally the same as the first, and called it “Muslim Ban 2.0”.
In its complaint, Hawaii says it is suing to protect its residents, businesses and schools, as well as its “sovereignty against illegal actions of President Donald J. Trump and the federal government”.
The revised order, which takes effect on March 16, places a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations and a 120-day ban on all refugees. It replaces an initial order issued in January, which sparked confusion at airports and mass protests in the US.
The previous order was subsequently halted by a federal court following legal challenges across the country.
Chin said the new order amounted to the same policy “dressed up differently”, the New York Times reported.
“Nothing of substance has changed: There is the same blanket ban on entry from Muslim-majority countries (minus one),” Chin said.
The new order will bar entry of citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days. Iraq, which was included in the first ban, has been taken off the list.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the filing, but will have an opportunity to respond to the state’s amended complaint against the travel ban on March 13, a CNN report said.
Hawaii is also joined in the lawsuit by an American who is the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii and says he has lived in the state for over a decade with his wife and children, but now his Syrian mother-in-law cannot visit them because she does not currently hold a visa to enter the US, according to the report.
Trump has not yet commented on Hawaii’s latest legal bid, but had previously insisted he has the right to enact such an executive order and hit out at “so political” courts.