Trump administration files appeal against court order blocking revised travel ban

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Washington, DC, United States Mar 17, 2017, 09.54 PM (IST)

The United States government led by Donald Trump has filed an appeal against a Maryland court order that blocked Trump's revised travel ban on the ground that it discriminated against Muslims. 

The Justice Department filed a notice of appeal with the district court in Greenbelt, Maryland, two days after that court and one in Hawaii dealt a new blow to the White House's travel ban, both ruling that it discriminated against Muslims.

The case now goes to a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia.

Trump has said a travel ban is needed to preserve US national security and keep out extremists.

His first effort, in January, banned travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries and all refugees but was blocked by a court in Washington state on the grounds that it violated the constitution`s prohibition of religious discrimination.

That block was upheld on appeal, and the administration said it would revise the ban to better adhere to the law. 

But the new ban has run into the same problems.

It aims to close US borders to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and all refugees for at least 120 days. Iraq was on the original ban but removed in the revision.

The White House said the six countries were targeted because their screening and information capabilities could not meet US security requirements.

While the ban does not mention Muslims, the courts have accepted arguments that Trump`s statements while he was running for president last year that he would open his White House term with a ban on Muslim arrivals effectively defined his approach.

Arguing the case in Hawaii, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said of Trump's comments: "There is a difference between a president and a candidate."

"This order doesn't draw any religious distinction at all," he added.