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Hawaii Challenging New Trump Travel Ban


FILE - Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, speaks at a news conference opposing President Trump's executive orders on immigration, Feb. 1, 2017.

A U.S. federal court has ordered arguments be held next week on a legal challenge to President Donald Trump's new executive order suspending the nation's refugee admissions program and barring entry to people from six majority-Muslim countries.

The state of Hawaii had initially filed a legal challenge to Trump's original order, signed in January, but that case was put on hold after another federal court ruled the government could not enforce the order.

Now that Trump has issued a new executive order, the government is withdrawing its appeal of the court ruling, and thus Hawaii says its challenge to the travel ban should move forward.

Under a timeline agreed to by both sides, as described in court documents filed Tuesday, Hawaii will file its amended challenge on Wednesday, with the government's response due March 13 and arguments to take place March 15.

The executive order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 16 Washington time, but Hawaii's time zone is six hours behind, so the order will begin late on March 15 there.

The travel ban lasts for 90 days and prohibits the issuance of new visas to people from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.It also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days.The Trump administration says the order is necessary to protect national security, and has dismissed critics who say it is targeted at Muslims.

Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin said Monday the new order is nothing more than a new version of a Muslim ban.

"Under the pretense of national security, it still targets immigrants and refugees," Chin said.

The executive order cites a need to improve vetting and security procedures, and says the countries included in the travel ban have a compromised ability to provide the necessary information to ensure people entering the U.S. do not pose a threat.