The Trump administration has asked the federal court in Hawaii that brought its travel ban to a national halt this week to revise its ruling.
In a motion filed in Honolulu late Friday, the Justice Department argued that the court's order finding that the administration's latest travel ban discriminated against Muslims should be scaled back to match a more limited ruling against the ban issued by a federal court in Maryland.
The ruling in Hawaii by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered a stop to Trump's 90-day ban on travel from citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and his 120-day pause on refugee resettlement.
The ruling, issued Wednesday, also stopped the government's attempt to cap refugee resettlement and the compiling of a series of government studies and reports on how refugees and foreign visitors to the U.S. are vetted.
In the new filing, the Department of Justice argues that the judge's order should not have applied to refugees or to the government studies and reports.
Federal lawyers are not abandoning their view that Trump's executive order is constitutional, but said that Watson should limit his ruling to the six-country ban.
If the government's request is granted, the Hawaii ruling would then largely match a Maryland federal court order against the travel ban that was issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang. He declined to rule against the pause and cap on refugees.
On Friday, the Justice Department filed an appeal of Chuang's decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
The Hawaii suit was brought by the state, which argued that its residents, businesses and universities were negatively affected by the travel ban. Lawyers representing Hawaii said Trump's executive order, signed March 6 and scheduled to go into effect March 16, was an extension of his campaign promise to suspend travel into the country by Muslims. The Maryland case, based on similar arguments, was brought by immigrants and nonprofit organizations that work with refugees.
March's travel order was a revised version of a Jan. 27 travel ban that also included Iraq and gave preference to refugees who were religious minorities. The original ban was blocked in federal district courts and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
None of the court orders on the travel ban are permanent. Instead, they halt it while more thorough court proceedings determine its constitutionality.
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