A federal judge in Hawaii has ordered a halt to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to stop visa issuance to nationals of six Muslim-majority countries.

The nationwide injunction was issued just hours before the order was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

“Plaintiffs have shown a strong likelihood of succeeding on their claim that the Executive Order violates First Amendment rights under the Constitution,” wrote U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, adding, “When considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms discussed above, and the questionable evidence supporting the Government’s national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interests justify granting (a temporary restraining order).”

The March 6 order would have prevented nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the U.S. for a 90-day period except for cases where an exemption or waiver applied. It was signed after a broader Executive Order, issued in late January, stalled in federal court.

The Trump administration had hoped the new order would survive judicial review. The revised version included exemptions for green card holders, current visa holders and dual nationals. It also did not cover Iraqi nationals, who were included in the initial Executive Order.

BAL Analysis: The ruling means that for the time being foreign nationals covered by the Executive Order can continue traveling to and from the U.S. as they could before the order was signed. The ruling did not reach the merits of the case, however. And employers with personnel inside the U.S. who would have been subject to the order should continue to advise their employees to exercise caution when planning travel because the litigation is ongoing. BAL is carefully monitoring the government’s reaction to the decision, and will continue to provide updates on important developments.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@bal.com.

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