Judge Ponders Challenge to Trump’s Third Travel Ban

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A federal judge in Maryland is deciding on the legality of President Trump’s third version of his travel ban, Politico reports. Judges blunted the impact of the first two executive orders Trump issued earlier this year, measures that critics said were thinly disguised versions of the Muslim ban he promised on the campaign trail. The latest iteration dropped one majority-Muslim country, Sudan, from an earlier list of countries that faced travel restrictions, added another largely-Muslim nation, Chad, and included Venezuela and North Korea. What the administration describes as “tailored” travel limits in the new policy are set to take effect early Wednesday.

In Greenbelt, Md., U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang heard many of the same arguments that were leveled at the previous versions of Trump’s policy: that it is premised on discrimination against Muslims and that it exceeds his authority under a complex set of immigration laws. Chuang was notably persistent as he pressed Justice Department attorney Hashim Mooppan about the contents of a classified Department of Homeland Security report that government lawyers have repeatedly used to justify the third travel ban policy. Chuang asked Mooppan whether any facts in the classified report were at odds with the findings in the directive Trump issued last month. Mooppan, the No. 2 attorney in DOJ’s civil division, wouldn’t answer directly. Mooppan said he’d read the report but didn’t think the court needed to know precisely what was in the document, which addresses deficiencies in vetting of visitors to the U.S. and information sharing with foreign governments. The evasiveness seemed to irritate the judge, who told Mooppan that he’d “used up a lot of time” in the exchange over the classified report.

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