SEATTLE – Three judges of the federal appeals court that blocked President Donald Trump's second travel ban earlier this year had some doubts about his third and last set of restrictions on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries during oral discussions Wednesday.
Ninth The judges of the US Circuit Court of Appeals. UU Ronald Gould, Richard Paez and Michael Hawkins heard arguments in Seattle about Hawaii's challenge to the ban.
The hearing occurred only two days after the US Supreme Court. UU He would announce that he was allowing the restrictions to take effect at least until the Ninth Circuit panel and his colleagues in the 4th Circuit of Richmond, Virginia had the opportunity to fail separately.
The debate over the restrictions has focused on whether they constitute a legitimate exercise of national security powers or the "Muslim ban" that Trump promised during his campaign.
But much of Wednesday's arguments focused on a narrow point: whether the president complied with the immigration law by issuing his last travel order, which targets 150 million potential travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
In June, Gould, Paez and Hawkins blocked Trump's second travel ban, saying he had not made a mandatory finding that the entry of people affected by that measure would be detrimental to US interests.
Neal Katyal, the former US Attorney General UU representing Hawaii, insisted that Trump had failed again and had no authority to issue his last travel restrictions.
"They have not made the findings that this court requested," Katyal said. "They came back with zero."
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Hashim Mooppan noted that the government had conducted a 90-day review and several agencies, after which Trump determined that certain countries do not provide enough information to investigate their citizens' background.
The ban is necessary to prevent foreign citizens to whom the US government lacks sufficient information to assess the risks they represent for the United States, "the president said in his September proclamation announcing the latest travel restrictions.
"I could disagree with the finding, but I can not disagree with the finding," Mooppan said.
Hawaii's Attorney General, Douglas Chin, said after the hearing that determining there is insufficient information to investigate foreigners is not the same as concluding their admission to the US. UU It would be harmful.
The government, he said, "did not tell us why the existing system does not work."
Citing national security concerns, Trump announced his initial travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority nations in late January, causing havoc and protests at airports across the country. A federal judge in Seattle soon blocked it, and courts have since struggled with the restrictions since the administration has rewritten them.
The latest version blocks travelers from countries listed in varying degrees, allowing students from some countries while blocking other business travelers and tourists, and allowing admissions on a case-by-case basis. It also blocks the trips of the North Koreans along with some officials of the Venezuelan government and their families, although those parts of the restrictions are not in question in the courts.
Mooppan argued that the courts do not have the authority to consider claims that the president's actions violate the federal immigration law, although he said it is conceivable that the courts may consider the actions to violate the constitution.
That statement provoked a skeptical questioning of the judges, including a Gould hypothetical: What would happen if the president decided to ban anyone who is not a US citizen?
Mooppan said that even such drastic action could not be reviewed by the courts unless Congress authorized them to do so.
Paez questioned the legitimacy of the administration's reasoning for the restrictions, noting exceptions for student visas: If those governments do not provide enough information, why allow someone to enter?
Mooppan said the restrictions are c "The exceptions also show that the government is not involved in banning Muslims," he said.
There was a discussion about the president's public statements concerning this issue, and it was designed in part to encourage them to be more communicative with the United States. Muslims Katyal noted that Trump continues to stoke anti-Islam sentiments. Last week he received a strong condemnation from the office of British Prime Minister Theresa May when he retweeted a series of incendiary videos of a British political group that purported to show the violence committed by Muslims.
Gould said the panel would rule "as soon as possible," "noting that the Supreme Court had suggested in its order this week that the appellate courts resolve with the proper urgency." The arguments will be held on Friday before a total of 13 judges of the 4th Circuit
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