A federal judge in Maryland became the second judge to block the third version of President Donald Trump's travel ban, saying the president’s own comments convinced him that the directive was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban, according to media reports.
U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland issued a ruling Wednesday blocking the administration from enforcing the directive only on those who lacked a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the United States, such as family members or other engagement in the U.S., reported The Washington Post.
His ruling came a day after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the directive just a day before it was set to take effect. Judge Derrick Watson said the ban, which bars residents from eight countries, "plainly discriminates based on nationality."
The president's executive order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States,'" Watson wrote.
The second version of the travel ban, issued in March, had barred residents of six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The new restrictions that were set to take effect Wednesday cover eight countries -- Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen. Tuesday's ruling does not impact the restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the ruling "dangerously flawed."
"The entry restrictions in the proclamation apply to countries based on their inability or unwillingness to share critical information necessary to safely vet applications, as well as a threat assessment related to terrorism, instability, and other grave national security concerns," Sanders said in a statement.
The Justice Department will "appeal in an expeditious manner," spokesman Ian Prior said, adding that the ruling "is incorrect, fails to properly respect the separation of powers, and has the potential to cause serious negative consequences for our national security."