Wisconsin Deals First Blow To Travel Ban 2.0

U.S. District Judge William Conley has allowed the family of a Syrian refugee to enter the country in spite of the president's new executive order

Mar 11, 2017 at 12:58 PM ET

As several states move forward with legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, a federal judge in Wisconsin delivered the first judicial setback to the executive order on Friday. U.S. District Judge William Conley, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a temporary restraining order to the ban that is applicable only to the family of a Syrian refugee previously granted asylum.

Conley, the chief judge of the federal court in Wisconsin’s western district, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the plaintiff “has presented some likelihood of success on the merits” of his case, and that his family faces “significant risk of irreparable harm” if they cannot move away from Syria. The refugee’s wife and child currently live in the battle-scarred Syrian city of Aleppo, and he filed his case anonymously in order to guard their identities.

The plaintiff originally came to the U.S. in 2014 from Syria to, according to his lawsuit, “escape near-certain death.” He then secured asylum for his wife and daughter. However, although both passed their initial vetting processes, Trump’s first travel ban, which was issued on January 27, halted their arrival to the U.S.

More Washington, Massachusetts Go After Travel Ban 2.0

That first executive order, which barred travel for 120 days from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq — and indefinitely suspended the admission of Syrian refugees, drew widespread condemnation and protests and was eventually blocked by courts. Trump’s amended travel ban, issued March 6 and set to go into effect March 16, took Iraq off the list of banned countries and removed the indefinite refugee travel ban for Syrians.

Still, states have sought to thwart the implementation of this incarnation of the travel ban, as well. Hawaii was the first state to challenge Trump’s second travel ban, and Washington, which was first to issue an injunction on the original order, said it would renew its efforts to block this one.

“The court appreciates that there may be important differences between the original executive order, and the revised executive order,” Conley wrote in his decision, according to Reuters. “As the order applies to the plaintiff here, however, the court finds his claims have at least some chance of prevailing for the reasons articulated by other courts.”