A federal judge in Virginia issued a 32-page ruling Friday that President Donald Trump was legally allowed to ban travel from those specific countries and that the executive order was not discriminatory in nature. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
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A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday upholding President Donald Trump's immigration executive order that temporarily bans travel from six Muslim-majority states.
Judge Anthony Trenga, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, said in his 32-page ruling that Trump was legally allowed to ban travel from those specific countries and that the executive order was not discriminatory in nature as the Palestinian activist who filed the lawsuit requesting an injunction had suggested.
[graphiq id="cDntr4RiWMt" title="Muslim Population of Countries in Trump's Travel Ban" width="600" height="525" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/cDntr4RiWMt" ]
Trenga wrote that the president "has unqualified authority to bar physical entry to the United States at the border.” He also pointed out that the executive order itself does not mention religion and has a "state secular purpose" of protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks.
The decision comes after federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland both blocked key components of the executive order.
Trenga said that even though Trump used the phrase "Muslim ban" as rhetoric on the campaign trail, it shouldn't be held against the president with regard to the executive order, as the judge in Hawaii previously suggested.
"[T]he Supreme Court has held that ‘past actions [do not] forever taint any effort on [the government’s] part to deal with the subject matter,' " Trenga wrote.
According to the Daily Caller, a Department of Justice spokesperson issued a statement on the ruling: "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."
An attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who represented the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said they plan to appeal the ruling.
[graphiq id="elPXS6SKSl7" title="States That Have Joined the Legal Fight Against Trump's Travel Ban" width="600" height="644" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/elPXS6SKSl7" ]
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Sara Gonzales is the host of “The News & Why It Matters.”