President Donald Trump’s newly revised executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by two separate judges. The order was set to go into effect at midnight.
A federal judge in Hawaii, the first state to file a lawsuit against the new travel ban, issued a nationwide order blocking implementation of the new ban, while another judge in Maryland issued an order forbidding the ban’s core provision from taking effect.
Hawaii had argued that the ban discriminates against Muslims, as well as that the executive order would harm Hawaii’s economy by disrupting its tourism industry. In a Wednesday evening ruling a judge in Hawaii ruled that the state, as well as plaintiff Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination, and that allowing the ban to go into effect at midnight would have caused them irreparable harm. In Maryland, a judge ruled that the likely purpose of the executive order was “the effectuation of the proposed Muslim ban.”
Both decisions are preliminary as the legal battle over the new ban is set to continue. In the meantime, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has said that it is waiting to see how the policy will impact U.S. travel agents. In a recent press call ASTA SVP Government and Industry Affairs Eben Peck said, “I think we’re going to look at letting the dust from both bans settle a bit. Maybe a few months out we can get a read on this — is this having a real impact or are people just having an emotional reaction?”
ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said that the organization would continue to “monitor the situation closely with an eye toward any impact on our members’ businesses, and will do everything possible to ensure member are kept up to date, able to serve their clients and prepare them for any disruptions that might occur.”
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), meanwhile, has released a poll showing that nearly four in 10 (37 percent) of its U.S. business travel agents expect “some level of reduction” in their company’s travel because of the new order.
The revised executive order bans travel from six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya – dropping Iraq, which was part of the original ban. The new order also suspends the United States’ refugee program for 120 days, and lowers the cap on refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 per year.
Other changes: travelers from the affected countries who are legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals who use a passport from another country and those who have been granted asylum or refugee status are exempt from the new order. Additionally, current visa holders will be able to get into the country, although those whose visas expire will have to reapply.