A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday against blocking President Trump’s executive order that called for temporarily stopping the entry of immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations and refugee admittance overall. The decision against the injunction comes after federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii blocked the implementation of Trump’s executive order nationwide. The ruling in Maryland is set to be heard before an appeals court in May. These two past decisions keep the order at bay.
Judge Anthony Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found that Trump was within his legal rights to impose the travel ban and that it was not discriminatory toward Muslims. The injunction had been brought forward by Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, who was represented by an attorney from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Trenga, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in his opinion that “the President has unqualified authority to bar physical entry to the United States at the border.” He said that the executive order makes no mention of religion and has a “state secular purpose” of protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks.
The Hawaiian federal judge who knocked down the executive order cited past statements from Trump on the campaign trail talking about a “Muslim ban.” Judge Trenga, however, wrote, “In that regard, the Supreme Court has held that ‘past actions [do not] forever taint any effort on [the government’s] part to deal with the subject matter.’”
A Department of Justice spokeswoman said in a statement, “The Department of Justice is pleased with the ruling. As the Court correctly explains, the President’s Executive Order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation’s security.”
The Associated Press reported that Sarsour’s attorney is expected to appeal the ruling.