BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opponents call it Muslim Ban 3.0 and say it discriminates against Muslims, but President Donald Trump says a travel ban is necessary to keep the country safe.
On Monday, Maryland Federal Judge Theodore D. Chuang heard arguments on both sides of the controversial policy. Amy Yensi explains what happened during the hearing.
There are three lawsuits challenging the ban in Maryland alone. The goal is to block the travel ban before it becomes law.
With just hours to go before the most recent travel ban becomes law, the stakes couldn’t be higher, with round three now playing out Monday in a Maryland court.
“All we want is an opportunity to be a part of the American fabric,” says Dr. Debbie Almontaser, Board Member, of the Yemeni American Merchants Association.
The current version blocks travel entirely from Syria and North Korea. It restricts travel from Chad, Iran, Lybia, Somalia, and Yemen — all Muslim-majority nations. It also includes Venezuela. Critics say it’s still a Muslim ban.
“The orders themselves get longer and longer, as increasing numbers of government lawyers attempt to hide their blatant discrimination in the language of National Security,” says Becca Heller, with International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center.
President Trump said after announcing it: “The tougher, the better.
The original ban has sparked protests from coast to coast, including Baltimore. The new version faces federal lawsuits in several states, including three cases here in Maryland. The plaintiffs and attorneys say it’s an attack on Muslims.
“We have at least two students at the University of Maryland who are graduating this semester and if this ban takes effect, their families won’t be able to come. Their parents won’t be attending their graduation,” says Mana Kharrazi, Executive Director, Iranian Americans Across Borders.
They’re urging the judge to block the ban before it takes effect on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing more clearly contrary to the establishment clause of the Constitution, then saying you can’t come here because of your religion,” says Omar Jadwat, Director, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
In March, Chuang blocked a previous version of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries. Chuang granted a preliminary injunction nationwide. Chuang said he will rule on these lawsuits at a later time, but didn’t say when.
A report by the Departments of State and Homeland Security were used to come up with the list of affected countries. Government lawyers have yet to present the findings to the judge.