WASHINGTON – The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday refused to reinstate President Trump’s revised travel ban, saying it discriminated on the basis of religion.
The decision was a fresh setback for the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.
Mr. Trump had narrowed the scope of his first executive order, issued in January, in response to an earlier appeals court decision halting it.
But the basic flaws in his approach remained, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled.
The case is now likely to go to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump issued his initial order on Jan. 27, a week into his presidency. Less than two weeks later, an appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, affirmed an order halting it.
Though Mr. Trump vowed to fight the ruling, he did not appeal to the Supreme Court. Instead, he issued a revised executive order.
The new order’s 90-day suspension of entry from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was more limited and subject to case-by-case exceptions.
It omitted Iraq, which had been listed in the earlier order, and it removed a complete ban on Syrian refugees. And it deleted explicit references to religion.
Like the earlier order, the new one suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days and reduced to annual number of refugees to 50,000 from 120,000.