World

Trump vows to fight 'all the way' against latest judicial block on immigration ban

HONOLULU/NEW YORK: Just hours before US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was set to go into effect, a federal judge in Hawaii issued an emergency halt to its implementation.

The action was the latest legal blow to the administration's efforts to temporarily ban refugees as well as travellers from six predominantly Muslim countries, which the president has said is needed for national security.

Mr Trump lashed out at the judge's ruling, saying it "makes us look weak."

He had signed the new ban on March 6, in a bid to overcome legal problems with a January executive order that caused chaos at airports and sparked protests before a Washington judge stopped its enforcement last month.

US District Judge Derrick Watson put an emergency stop to the new order in response to a lawsuit filed by the state of Hawaii, which argued that the order discriminated against Muslims, in violation of the US Constitution.

Judge Watson, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, ruled that while the order did not mention Islam by name, "a reasonable, objective observer ... would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavour a particular religion".

Speaking at a rally in Nashville, Mr Trump called his revised order a "watered-down version" of his first.

"I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place," he said, calling the judge's block "unprecedented judicial overreach" and promising to take the case "as far as it needs to go".

The Justice Department called the ruling "flawed both in reasoning and in scope", adding that the president has broad authority in national security matters. - REUTERS

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