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Judge in Hawaii blocks Trump's newest travel ban hours before it was set to take effect

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal airport, in Morristown, N.J. The Trump administration announced new travel ban restrictions after spending months hashing out the details determined to avoid a repeat of the chaos of Trump’s first travel ban. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

A U.S. district judge based in Honolulu blocked the most recent version of President Donald Trump's signature travel ban Tuesday.

The move came mere hours before the measure was set to take effect at midnight EDT.

The federal judge, Derrick Watson, was granting a request from the state of Hawaii to prevent the federal government from enforcing the legislation temporarily.

The state argued that the newest version of the travel restrictions -- which target citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen -- is an extension of Trump's campaign promise to "ban Muslims."

In a July, Watson effectively weakened an earlier version of the ban by ruling to expand the list of U.S. family relationships that visitors can use to get into the country.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," Watson said in that ruling. "Indeed grandparents are the epitome of close family members."

The White House responded later Wednesday, calling the court order "dangerously flawed" and vowing to "vigorously defend" the travel ban.

"The entry restrictions in the proclamation apply to countries based on their inability or unwillingness to share critical information necessary to safely vet applications, as well as a threat assessment related to terrorism, instability, and other grave national security concerns," the Office of the Press Secretary statement read. "These restrictions are vital to ensuring that foreign nations comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our Nation. "

Watson is not the only judge weighing the newest policy.

Court rooms across the U.S., including in Maryland, are witnessing cases filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other powerful advocacy groups.


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