By Itunuoluwa Adebo
Hawaii has become the first state to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, saying the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.
Attorneys for the state filed the lawsuit against the U.S. government in federal court in Honolulu. The state had previously sued over Trump’s initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country..
“Hawaii is special in that it has always been non-discriminatory in both its history and constitution,” Attorney General Douglas Chin said. “Twenty percent of the people are foreign-born, 100,000 are non-citizens and 20 percent of the labor force is foreign-born.”
Chin, who noted the state has budgeted about $150,000 for an outside law firm to help with the lawsuit, said people in Hawaii find the idea of a travel ban based on nationality distasteful because they remember when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during World War II. Hawaii was the site of one of the camps.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted the state’s request to continue with the case and set a hearing for March 15 — the day before Trump’s order is due to go into effect. The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The state will argue at the March 15 hearing that the judge should impose a temporary restraining order preventing the ban from taking effect until the lawsuit has been resolved.
University of Richmond Law School professor Carl Tobias said Hawaii’s complaint seemed in many ways similar to Washington’s successful lawsuit, but whether it would prompt a similar result was tough to say.
Tobias also said it is good that Hawaii’s lawsuit includes an individual plaintiff, considering that some legal scholars have questioned whether the states themselves have standing to challenge the ban.
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