15/03/2017 23:09 GMT | Updated 16/03/2017 09:33 GMT

Donald Trump's New Travel Ban Blocked By Judge In Hawaii - Hours Before Taking Effect

Trump calls it an 'unprecedented judicial overreach'.

A judge in Hawaii has put President Donald Trump’s revised federal travel ban on hold.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued his ruling on Wednesday after hearing arguments on Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order involving the ban.

His ruling prevents the executive order from going into effect on Thursday. The second attempt at a ban on travel was a watered down version of his first attempt, and targets all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries.

Trump blasted the ruling during a rally in Nashville, saying he had to deliver “the bad, the sad news”.

“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first one,” Trump said, as the crowd booed the news.

“This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” he added, before pledging to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Donald Trump holds a rally at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

His comments provide more ammunition to opponents’ arguments that, at their core, they are the same.

After several delays and false starts, the administration reworked the executive order to create one that would pass muster in the courts, although Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser, conceded before it was unveiled that it would have the “same basic policy outcome”.

Unlike the first ban, it does not apply to current visa holders or to nationals of Iraq, which originally was one of the countries whose nationals were barred for 90 days.

In his decision, Watson singled out that Miller quote, broadcast on Fox News in the days ahead of Trump’s new ban.

The judge also highlighted similar comments by longtime Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, who all but admitted on Fox News that the president had asked him look for legal ways to shut out Muslims.

More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments Wednesday about whether it should be put into practice.

Hawaii argued that the ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and would prevent Hawaii residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six mostly Muslim countries covered by the ban.

The state also says the ban would harm its tourism industry and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.

The ban was scheduled to begin at midnight on Thursday, 10 days after Trump signed the revised order.

The staggered rollout was designed to give fair warning to those potentially affected - a contrast from the disorderly implementation of the president’s original executive order, which left thousands stranded, detained or with their visas canceled without notice.

The new order also does not single out Syrian refugees for indefinite restriction from entry, and does not include a preference for religious minority refugees, widely viewed as a way to admit Middle Eastern Christians while excluding Muslims.