Latest US travel order overturned by Federal judge

Donald Trump's latest Executive Order halting travel to the USA from six countries has been overturned by a Federal judge in Hawaii, citing the damage to students and the international education sector as one of the reasons.

Hours before the latest travel ban affecting citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen came into effect, Judge Derrick Watson issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).


The latest Executive Order was announced on March 6 and differed from the original travel ban introduced in January in that it allowed those holding a valid visa to still travel to the USA.


In the order granting motion for the TRO, Judge Watson wrote "the State [of Hawaii] asserts that the Executive Order inflicts constitutional and statutory injuries upon its residents, employers and educational institutions".


In a speech on March 15 after the judge's decision, President Trump said that the ruling was "flawed" and suggested that the government would challenge the decision and pursue the appeal process.


The State of Hawaii, one of two plaintiffs in the motion along with an individual American citizen of Egyptian descent, claimed that the impact on its university system was "both financial and intangible".


"The State contends that any prospective recruits who are without visas as of March 16, 2017 will not be able to travel to Hawaii to attend the university. As a result, the university will not be able to collect the tuition that those students would have paid," Judge Watson wrote.


"The State argues that the University will also suffer non-monetary losses, including damage to the collaborative exchange of ideas among people of different religions and national backgrounds on which the State's educational institutions depend. This will impair the university's ability to recruit and accept the most qualified students and faculty, undermine its commitment to being 'one of the most diverse institutions of higher education' in the world, and grind to a halt certain academic programmes, including the university's Persian Language and Culture programme."


International education associations including NAFSA, the Association of American Universities and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) issued statements in criticism of the second Executive Order, despite the concessions that valid visa holders would still be able to travel.


An appeal against the decision is expected in the next few days.


In 2016, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) in Hawaii issued a report that claimed international students contributed US$302 million per year to the state's economy.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor