Judge Extends Hold On Trump’s Travel Ban

U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban has suffered another setback as a Federal Judge in Hawaii has indefinitely extended the suspension of the new executive order.

Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling means Mr Trump will be barred from enforcing the ban on Muslim nations while it is contested in court.

In a lawsuit, the U.S. State said the ban would harm tourism and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.

But President Trump said his revised travel ban seeks to prevent terrorists from entering the United States.

President Trump’s executive order signed on March 6, would have placed a 90 day ban on people from Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and a 120 day ban on refugees.

President Trump’s travel ban faces first legal battle

President Donald Trump’s revamped travel ban is facing its first major legal setback, after a federal judge halted enforcement of the directive that would deny US entry to the wife and child of a Syrian refugee already granted asylum.

In a preliminary restraining order issued Friday that applies only to the Syrian man and his family, US District Judge William Conley in Wisconsin said the plaintiff “is at great risk of suffering irreparable harm” if the directive is carried out.

The man chose to remain anonymous because his wife and child are still living in war-wracked Aleppo.

It denies US entry to all refugees for 120 days and halts for 90 days the granting of visas to nationals from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

The new order, unveiled Monday, is due to go into effect March 16. Lifting an indefinite Syrian refugee travel ban and reducing the number of blacklisted countries by removing Iraq, it replaces a previous iteration issued in January that was blocked in federal court.

“The court appreciates that there may be important differences between the original executive order and the revised executive order issued on March 6, 2017,” Conley wrote.

“As the order applies to the plaintiff here, however, the court finds his claims have at least some chance of prevailing for the reasons articulated by other courts.”

He set a hearing for March 21.

– ‘New coat of paint’ –

In another legal challenge, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint on behalf of several refugee assistance groups over the controversial executive order.

“Putting a new coat of paint on the Muslim ban doesn’t solve its fundamental problem, which is that the Constitution and our laws prohibit religious discrimination,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project.

“The further President Trump goes down this path, the clearer it is that he is violating that basic rule.”

The ACLU, the preeminent US civil liberties group, and the National Immigration Law Center brought the suit on behalf of the International Refugee Assistance Project and the refugee resettlement group HIAS, as well as several individuals.

The suit alleges that the new executive order violates the constitutional protection of freedom of religion in that it is “intended and designed to target and discriminate against Muslims, and it does just that in operation.”

“Rarely in American history has governmental intent to discriminate against a particular faith and its adherents been so plain,” the complaint says, alleging the new order will cause “irreparable harm” and asking for an injunction.

A federal judge in Maryland, Theodore Chuang, has scheduled a hearing in the case for March 15 — the day before the measure is due to take effect.

– ‘Still a Muslim ban’ –

Separately, a federal judge in Seattle who issued a nationwide halt to Trump’s original travel restrictions denied a motion to have the same ruling apply to the modified measures, saying at least one of the parties must first file additional court papers.

The state of Maryland said it would join Monday the suit filed by the attorney general from Washington state, which also has the support of Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon.

“President Trump’s second executive order is still a Muslim ban,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement.

“The administration persists in an effort to implement a policy that is inhumane and unconstitutional, but also makes us less safe, not more safe.”

The White House cites national security in justifying the ban, arguing that it needs time to implement “extreme vetting” procedures to keep Islamic militants from entering the country.

Polls show American public opinion is deeply divided on the issue. Most indicate a slight majority of voters opposed, with strong support among Trump’s political base.


Source: The Guardian

Hawaii drags Donald Trump to court over new travel ban

The US state of Hawaii on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s new travel ban in a federal court, Honolulu.

In a statement, Doug Chin, Hawaii attorney general called the new executive order “nothing more than Muslim Ban 2.0?.

Chin said, “under the pretense of national security, it still targets immigrants and refugees.

“It leaves the door open for even further restrictions. Our office is reviewing the new order and will decide what next steps may be necessary.”

“The new executive order is resulting in the establishment of religion in the state of Hawaii contrary to its state constitution; it is inflicting immediate damage to Hawaii’s economy, educational institutions, and tourism industry; and it is subjecting a portion of the state’s citizens to second-class treatment and discrimination, while denying all Hawaii residents the benefits of an inclusive and pluralistic society,” attorneys for the state argued in court filings.

“The executive order means that thousands of individuals across the United States and in Hawaii who have immediate family members living in the affected countries will now be unable to receive visits from those persons or to be reunited with them in the United States.”

Trump had on Monday issued a fresh executive order which takes effect on March 16.

The new order includes the same counties earlier affected, with the exception of Iraq.

The US ninth circuit court of appeals on February 9 refused to reinstate Trump’s first executive order, which temporarily banned citizens of seven countries from entering the US.

On February 3, the three-member panel, in its unanimous ruling, upheld a decision by James Robart, a US district court judge, which halted the ban nationwide.

“We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we, therefore, deny its emergency motion for a stay,” the judges ruled.

However, Trump immediately indicated his intention to challenge the ruling at the supreme court.

In reaction to the new travel ban, Iran has also threatened to deny US citizens entry into the country if Trump’s order was not reversed.


Source: The Cable

US President, Donald Trump to roll out new travel ban next week.

President Donald Trump says his administration will be rolling out a new set of immigration order on travels and refugees next week to replace the controversial one blocked by the courts.

Trump, who made the announcement during a televised press conference on Thursday, pledged to keep Americans safe in line with his campaign  promise.

“Our administration is working day and night to keep Americans safe including you reporters,” he said.

“A new set of executive actions next week will comprehensively protect our country. We’re going to put in place a new set of travel ban.

“The (blocked) roll out was perfect because if we had announced that (ban), a lot of bad people would not have come into our country.

“The new executive order will be based on the decision of the courts.

“But now there is serious vetting,” he said, adding that he was willing to deal with dreamers” who were brought into the US illegally as children, “with heart” as a father who has kids and grand children.

Trump said he had ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that violated the federal laws by providing safe haven for illegal immigrants.

“I’m following through on what I pledged,” he said, pointing out that the travel ban was only holding true to his campaign promises rather than deceive his supporters by reneging.

Trump also claimed that his administration inherited a mess in the US and overseas when he took over.

“I inherited a mess in United States and overseas,” Trump said.

“This administration is running like a fine-tune machine in spite that I can’t get my cabinet approved. Our cabinet will be one of the greatest in American history.

“We will renegotiate fair trade deal, we’ve been treated unfairly. Other countries have been taking advantage of us for decades. We cannot continue to let that happen.

“There has never been a presidency that has done so much in a very short period of time.”

The president emphasised that he would “repeal and replace Obamacare by March”, insisting that the healthcare plan was a disaster.

He maintained that the Russia scandal was a ruse that was meant to cover up for the loss of Democrats and Hillary Clinton, but emphasised that it was better for the US to get along well with Russia.

Trump, however, described the leak as illegal, and vowed that the leakers of classified information, whom he claimed to be the Obama’s hangovers, would be caught and made to face the law.

“It will be great to get along with Russia. I want to do the right thing for the American people and for the world,” he said.

“We are a very powerful country and so they (Russia) are. They are nuclear powerful but it will be in our country’s interest.

“I don’t think Putin is testing me. But whether we are going to get along, I don’t know because I’m not going to tell you. I don’t have to tell you what my response to Russia is.

“Russia is a ruse. I’ve never done anything for Russia. I don’t have any connection with Russia.

“Putin called me on the election victory and also on the inauguration and it was a fantastic conversation, especially the second one just like almost all leaders all over the world called me.’’

Trump assured Americans that Melania, his wife “is going to be a fantastic First Lady; she’s going to be a fabulous representative of the women’’.

Judges Across U.S. To Weigh Trump’s Travel Ban.

Justice Department lawyers across the United States will on Friday defend President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the country, a directive some attorneys general say is unconstitutional.

Trump last week signed the executive order, which affects people holding passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and also halts temporarily the entry of refugees into the country.

The White House contends the moves are necessary for national security. Democratic attorneys general in several states have called them unconstitutional.

Federal judges in Boston, Seattle and Virginia will weigh lawsuits filed by different states and advocacy groups challenging Trump’s order. In Seattle, the states of Washington and Minnesota are together asking a judge to suspend the entire policy nationwide, which would represent the broadest ruling to date against Trump’s directive.

Should the judge rule that Washington and Minnesota have legal standing to sue, it could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration.

In a filing late on Thursday, Justice Department lawyers argued that Trump was well within his authority to issue the immigration restrictions.

Massachusetts, anti-poverty group Oxfam and seven Iranian nationals will ask a Boston judge to extend an order issued on Sunday barring the detention or removal of approved refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents who entered from the seven countries.

“If an executive order looks like a Muslim ban, acts like a Muslim ban, and has been talked about as a Muslim ban, then it’s probably a Muslim ban,” the plaintiffs said in a court filing.

During his campaign, Trump discussed the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country to protect against terrorist threats, and on Thursday he defended the restrictions as necessary to protect religious liberty.

“There are those who would seek to enter our country for the purpose of spreading violence, or oppressing other people based upon their faith or their lifestyle – not right,” he told a Washington prayer breakfast.

United Nations condemns U.S. travel ban

The World Travel Organisation, UNWTO, a United Nations specialised agency for tourism, has condemned the recent travel ban put in place by the United States government.

A statement by UNWTO Media Officer, Gomez Sobrino, which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday, said that the travel ban is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel and travel facilitation by the international tourism community.

“The UNWTO expresses its deep concern and strong condemnation over the
recently announced travel ban by the United States of America (USA) to nationals of seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen),” said Mr. Sobrino.

“The travel ban, based on nationality, is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel and travel facilitation promoted by the international tourism community and will hinder the immense benefits
of the tourism sector brings in terms of economic growth and job creation to many countries, including the USA.”

According to the statement, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, said, “Global challenges demand global solutions and the security challenges that we face today should not prompt us to build new walls; on the contrary, isolationism and blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security but rather to growing tensions and threats.”

The United States President, Donald Trump, had on Friday signed an executive order prohibiting entry by people from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days. Citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya would be banned from entering the U.S. for the period.

But Mr. Rifai in his reaction added that the hostile manner the travel ban was imposed will affect the image of the United states, noting that travel demand to the country will decline.

“Besides the direct impact, the image of a country which imposes travel bans in such a hostile way will surely be affected among visitors from all over the world and risk dumping travel demand to the


Source: Premium Times

EFCC, DSS Slam Travel Ban On 15 Judges.

Ahead of the ongoing probe and pending their arraignment, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) have restricted the movement of not less than 13 judges to the country.

The judges cannot travel abroad because they have been watch-listed until permitted by a court.

It was also learnt that security agents have started screening the Petty Cash Book of the Supreme Court and payment vouchers to contractors.

The Petty Cash Book which emanated from draw down from Secret/Operation Account was said to have revealed a lot on how about N2.2billion was spent on miscellaneous expenses.

The interim report indicated that the “discoveries were messy and least expected in such a scared place.”

About 15 judges are undergoing probe by the EFCC and the DSS.

Those under investigation are two Supreme Court judges-Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro; the former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; Justice Adeniyi Ademola (Federal High Court); the ex-Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court); Justice Bashir Sukola and Justice Ladan Manir, from the Kaduna State High Court.

Justice Agbadu James Fishim (National Industrial Court);  Justice Uwani Abba Aji Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa;  Musa Haruna Kurya; and Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia (Federal High Court).

Out of the judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; the erstwhile Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Justice Kabiru Auta.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that all the judges have been watch-listed and their movement restricted to the country until investigation is concluded.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “All the security agencies and the Nigerian Immigration Service have been notified that the affected judges are undergoing investigation. The implication is that they cannot go out of the country except permitted to do so.

“Actually, many of the judges have had their passports either seized or kept in custody of investigating agencies.

“The restriction is to make the ongoing investigation easier. As a matter of fact, some of them have been reporting intermittently or in some cases daily for questioning to either the EFCC or the DSS. It is not a punitive action but it is a way of facilitating investigation.

“For instance, we have had instances when detectives followed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia to inspect some assets in Delta and Edo States. If she had been abroad, they won’t be able to do so.

“We are tracking many assets of some of these judges and this exercise requires verification and updated interrogation.

“But as soon as they are arraigned in court for trial, their bail will be at the discretion of the court.”

As at press time, it was gathered that some security agents were already screening the Petty Cash Book of the Supreme Court on how about N2.2billion, allegedly drawn from the court’s Secret/Operation Account, was spent on miscellaneous expenses.

Some vouchers of payment to some judges and contractors were still being screened by security agents.

Another source said: “The discoveries were messy and least expected in such a scared place. They actually border on non-compliance with Financial Regulations or gross abuse of the process.

“Some miscellaneous expenses and allowances were completely outside the approved rates by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on remuneration for public and judicial officers.

“These details will soon be released to the public so that Nigerians can appreciate the rot and the weak system at the apex court.”

Meanwhile, about five firms have been implicated in the offering of bribes to some management staff of the Supreme Court.

According to a document obtained last night, the companies/ contractors include Willysdave Limited; Welcon Nigeria Limited; Dean Musa Nig. Limited; Ababia Ventures Limited and MBR Computers Limited.

“These companies have made useful statements on about N80.4million bribe sums so far detected. They are helping ongoing investigation.

“But the number of the companies could be more than the list at hand. We are still screening more vouchers, transfer details and procurement process. There are heaps of documents to go through. The documents we have got are sufficient for the trial of some judges and a few other accomplices.”

Why I don’t visit US – Atiku

Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has given explanations over his alleged avoidance of the United States over a purported corruption case for which he was said to be wanted.


Atiku denied that he was avoiding US because of any travel ban on him. He also faulted the widely held notion about him as a corrupt person, saying if he was corrupt, he would have been convicted by now.


In an interview published in the latest edition of Zero Tolerance Magazine, a publication of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Atiku said he “no longer has compelling reasons” to travel to US, as his family, who used to live there, had relocated.


“There is no travel restriction on me to the United States. After leaving office, I have been to the US severally to visit my family, which has eventually relocated,” he said.


Atiku, however, did not answer the question on when last he visited the US, insisting that the reason for his US travels were his wife.


The former vice president also denied having any relationship with William Jefferson, the ex-US congressman accused of being his linkman in the US bribery scandal.


In one of the editions of the magazine in September 2013, Atiku’s ex-boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had dared the ex-VP to travel to US, alleging that Atiku was a fugitive who cannot travel to US.


Atiku maintained that despite panels and court actions against him, he was yet to be found guilty of any financial infringement.


“If Atiku Abubakar was corrupt, he would have been found guilty of corruption by all the panels and probes and cases that were brought before the courts. I remember the only corruption indictment against me was a white paper which was cooked up by our own administration overnight including the very EFCC that I helped found, and other cabinet ministers, which I challenged in court.”