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4th Circuit Strikes Travel Ban 3.0 for Discrimination

President Trump's on-again, off-again travel ban is off again, at least in principle.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban -- the third one -- is unconstitutional. The appeals court said in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump that the ban wrongfully discriminates against people of Islamic faith.

However, the decision does not supersede the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in December that allowed the ban to stand pending litigation. If you are confused, you may want to get off the bus now because it's headed back to Washington.

Following suit with Judge Derrick Watson out of the Federal District Court in Hawaii, Judge Theodore Chuang, in the Federal District Court in Maryland, has issued a preliminary injunction against President Trump's newest "Muslim ban." Presidential Proclamation 9645 has been enjoined from being enforced against the Muslim majority countries.

The written opinion of the court goes to great lengths to explain the history of the executive action, and it chronicles President Trump's public and official statements on the issue. Reading the opinion of Judge Chuang, one can't hardly escape the feeling that they're reading the old childhood story of the boy who cried wolf, as the court relies upon many of the past statements made by President Trump to untangle and translate the true purpose, rather than the stated purpose, behind the proclamation.

The Fourth Circuit's ruling striking down President Trump's second travel ban, EO 13,780, was vacated by the Supreme Court this week. In issuing this ruling, it was ordered that the challenge to the injunction be remanded to the Fourth Circuit Court and dismissed as moot. The High Court explained that because the EO's September 24 expiration date had passed, the appeal no longer presented a live case or controversy, and as such, was moot.

Interestingly though, Justice Sonya Sotomayor dissented. In short, she disagreed with vacating and remanding with instructions to dismiss as moot. Rather, Justice Sotomayor asserts that the High Court should have dismissed the writ of certiorari as "improvidently granted."

President Trump's revised travel ban was blocked by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii less than a month ago, when both courts ruled that the executive order, which halted travel and immigration from six majority-Muslim nations, likely violated the Establishment Clause.

Now, the Fourth Circuit has agreed to hear the initial appeal from the Maryland court's ruling en banc, bypassing the typical three-judge panel altogether.

In determining the constitutionality of President Trump's travel ban executive order, courts shouldn't look back to Trump's statements as a candidate, the Department of Justice says. District courts in Maryland and Hawaii blocked Trump's newest travel ban two weeks ago, finding it to be likely unconstitutional. Both judges relied significantly on the president's public statements when doing so.

In a brief filed with the Fourth Circuit last Friday, the DOJ argues that the travel ban does not discriminate on the basis of religion, despite Trump's calls for a "Muslim ban" during his presidential campaign. Considering such statements would be impermissible "second-guessing" of the president's stated purpose, the brief argues.

Deportation Case Ruling: Knowledge of Almost Certain Torture Isn't Deliberate

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reviewed a deportation case that implicated the proper interpretation and application of the International Treaty of the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The case is an interesting highlight into the limitations of the CAT.

The appeals court found that almost certain knowledge by a state actor who detains a deported felon (from the United States) that the detainee might suffer severe pain and suffering does not rise to the level of "specific intent" under CAT -- thereby not affording such persons protection under the treaty.

Richard Jesus Amos, an immigrant from the Philippines, committed a sexual crime against a minor. After he served his punishment for the crime, the Department of Homeland Security came knocking.

Since the Attorney General has the power to remove any alien "who is convicted of an aggravated felony," the immigration judge heard a strong case against Amos. As might be expected, the judge ordered Amos to be removed and denied motions for reconsideration. When the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Amos' appeal, he brought the case to the Fourth Circuit.

4th Cir.: Trafficked Domestic Worker's Lawsuit Not Time-Barred

When Cristina Cruz left the Philippines to come to the United States, she thought she was getting a great opportunity. A friend told her that she could work for Nilda Maypa, a World Bank employee. So Cruz got the job and came to the United States. Her employment contract seemed solid: $6.50 an hour, 35 to 40 hours a week, plus medical insurance.

What she got was entirely different. Maypa paid her $250 a month -- that's a little over $8 a day -- required her to work 17 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, cook, clean, take care of the kids, clean the pool, mow the lawn ... and on and on.

Not Registering as Sex Offender Isn't 'Moral Turpitude': 4th Cir.

Being a sex offender is probably a crime of moral turpitude, right? What about the acting of failing to register as a sex offender? The U.S. government thought so; that's why it initiated deportation proceedings against Khalid Mohamed, a citizen of Sudan. Mohamed was convicted of sexual battery in 2010, and in 2011, he failed to register as a sex offender. Finding these to be a conviction for "two or more crimes involving moral turpitude," the government said he had to go, and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wasn't so convinced. It ordered Mohamed released on September 29, and provided the reasoning for its order in an opinion released October 17.

Can't Stop Illegal Immigrants For No Reason

She was eating a sandwich while sitting on a curb, waiting for her shift to start. Roxanna Orellana Santos was eating a freaking sandwich.

Meanwhile, two astute officers, patrolling for wretched criminals, stopped her and asked her for her identification. She initially told them that she lacked an ID, but later found a copy of her El Salvadorian national ID. She was then detained, on the curb, while the officers checked for, and found, a civil immigration warrant that called for her immediate deportation.