Honolulu: A federal court in Hawaii on Wednesday halted Donald Trump´s revised executive order temporarily closing US borders to refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, dealing the president a humiliating fresh defeat.
US District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii, in its legal challenge to the order, had established a strong likelihood that the ban would cause "irreparable injury" were it to go ahead.
The court in Honolulu was the first to rule in a trio of legal challenges against the ban, which had been set to go into effect at midnight.
Decisions were expected later Wednesday from federal courts in Washington state and Maryland.
The ruling means a nationwide freeze on enforcement of section two of the order, banning entry by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
It also halts section six, which would have suspended the US refugee admissions program for 120 days.
There was no immediate comment from the White House, which had argued that the travel ban is necessary to keep extremists from entering the United States.
The Trump administration´s wide-ranging initial travel restrictions imposed on January 27 were slapped down by the federal courts, after sparking a legal, political and logistical furor.
Trump signed a revised ban behind closed doors on March 6 with a reduced scope exempting Iraqis and permanent US residents but maintaining the temporary ban on the other six countries and refugees.
The White House said those six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.
But Watson rejected the White House claim that the order wasn´t a Muslim ban, ruling that it would not be a leap "to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam," because of their Muslim populations range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent.
The judge made reference to several examples of Trump explicitly framing proposed action on immigration in religious language, including a March 2016 interview during which the then president-elect said: "I think Islam hates us."
"Mr. Trump was asked, ´Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?´ He replied: ´It´s very hard to separate. Because you don´t know who´s who,´" the judge added.