A federal judge in the US state of Hawaii ruled on Wednesday (29 March) to extend a halt on the latest attempt at a travel ban introduced by President Donald Trump's administration. District Judge Derrick Watson heard arguments from the state attorney general and Department of Justice (DoJ) before making his decision.
Hawaii was the first US state to contest the new travel ban, the original version of which was struck down by courts after a tumultuous roll-out.
The new ban forbids travel to the US for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries – with the exception of Iraq, which was included in the first order.
The DoJ attempted to argue that Watson's injunction should only apply to the travel ban on those citizens and not other elements of the executive order – namely a temporary halting of the refugee program and annual cap on the number of refugees allowed into the country.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, arguing for the injunction's extension, said that the order was like a "neon sign flashing 'Muslim ban, Muslim ban'" that no one in government had bothered to turn off.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the revised version of the ban was simply a "scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws."
The Justice Department also attempted to argue that the refugee ban had no effect on Hawaii, though Watson rejected it after quoting the government as saying that 20 refugees had been resettled in Hawaii.
When the government attorney said that it was a small number, Watson replied: "In whose judgement?"