Judge Temporarily Halts Trump’s Muslim Ban

Photo: by Beatrice Murch; via Wikimedia Commons.

A judge has put a temporary stop to the Muslim ban which U.S. president Donald Trump is trying to put in place.

Trump is trying to ban people from seven mostly-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The seven countries are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. (“Ban,” in this case, means keep them out of the U.S.)

What is the ban?
People from those seven countries, even if they have been legally living and working in the United States, perhaps for years, would not be allowed back into the U.S. if they ever left it. So, for instance, let’s say there is a teacher who is originally from Somalia but who now lives in the United States. She wants to visit a friend in Canada for a couple of weeks. If she did that–left the U.S.–she would not be allowed back into the United States, under Trump’s ban. She would be “banned” from the United States. (It’s a bit more complicated than this, but that’s the gist of it.)

Trump wants the ban because he says it will make the United States safer. Critics say this is not true, since no one from any of those countries has ever been found guilty of any terrorist act against the United States. Still, Trump thinks that by bullying Muslim people, he will become more popular with Americans. (Through protests, millions of Americans and people around the world, have shown that they disagree with the ban and with Trump’s attitude toward Muslims.)

Trump’s Muslim ban caused chaos and confusion across the U.S. last week. He did it so quickly that many people from those seven countries were already out of the U.S. at the time on business or holiday trips. When they tried to return home to the U.S., they were told they couldn’t enter the U.S. Many lawyers worked day and night–often for free–to try to help the people affected by the ban.

Now, a U.S. judge named James Robart, in Seattle, has put a temporary hold on the ban. He ruled that the ban would create “immediate and irreparable injury.”

What does the judge mean by “injury”? He means harm to education, businesses and residents. For instance, a company like Microsoft may find that its workers cannot travel outside the U.S.–for instance, to attend a business conference–because when they tried to return home they wouldn’t be allowed back in. So Microsoft would no longer have those workers available. (This is one small example that would apply to possibly thousands of U.S. businesses, schools and other organizations.)

Judge Robart made the ruling after two American states, Washington State and Minnesota, said they didn’t think the ban was legal and asked the legal system to look into it. The judge said the Muslim ban was likely worse for the country than any kind of security problem it was designed to prevent. In other words, Trump wants the ban because he says it will help the country, but the judge said it would actually hurt the country.

Another problem with the many changes Trump is trying to put in place since he became president, is that he appears not to consult many people before he does them. He apparently doesn’t get a lot of advice from experienced people, or listen to people who think differently than him. Many people believe he is focussing on what he wants, and what his supporters want, rather than what is good for the country.

In this case, the people–Americans and people around the world–aren’t buying it. And neither is Judge Robart. At least for now, Trump’s mean-spirited ban will not be allowed to happen.

A “Muslim ban”
Most of the people in those seven countries practice the Muslim religion. Trump has said that his proposed ban is not a “Muslim ban.” He doesn’t want people to think of it as a Muslim ban because banning people because of their religion is against the American constitution. So he wants people to think of it as a ban against certain countries. That is allowed, legally. However, the ban effectively is against Muslims, since most of the people he would ban are Muslims. Also, one of his top advisors, Rudy Giuliani, said Trump himself referred to it as a “Muslim ban.” Trump also used that phrase prior to the election. So no matter what Trump wants people to call it, it is a Muslim ban.

Note: Events in the U.S. are changing rapidly, as judges and lawyers try to figure out what is legal. We will try to keep you as up-to-date as possible about this and other issues.

**Media Literacy/Critical Thinking: Is this a news article or is it a column? A news article should be “unbiased,” meaning it doesn’t take anyone’s side but just reports the facts. A column can be more about the author’s opinion. These days, the line between the two seems to be very blurry. So is this article a column or a news article? You decide.