Trump travel order raises specter of 'superior race': Hawaii Attorney General

President Donald Trump's revised immigration order is so "blatantly discriminatory" that it seems designed to divide people into a "superior race," Hawaii's attorney general alleged Thursday.

Trump's revised executive order, which restricts entry by nationals from six mostly Muslim countries and is scheduled to take effect March 16, includes nicer, "neutral" language, but it remains at its core a "Muslim ban," Attorney General Doug Chin said at a news conference in Honolulu on Thursday.

Chin said that would set the country back by 75 years, when Japanese-American U.S. citizens were placed in internment camps during World War II.

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Business leaders react to Trump administration's travel ban
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Business leaders react to Trump administration's travel ban

Bill Ford and Mark Fields, executive chairman and CEO of Ford

"Respect for all people is a core value of Ford Motor Company, and we are proud of the rich diversity of our company here at home and around the world." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

"Like many of you, I'm concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump ...

"These issues are personal for me even beyond my family. A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented. They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here. I hope we find the courage and compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place for everyone." 

Read full statement here

REUTERS/Mariana Bazo/File Photo

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO

"The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.

"Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They've done right,not wrong & don't deserve to be rejected." - Twitter

REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

"Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do." - Memo to employees

(Photo credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

"This executive order is one we do not support.

"We're a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years.... It's a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO

"Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe. A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity." - Facebook

REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files 

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

"There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. "

- Read full statement here


Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter

"11% of Syrian immigrants to the U.S. are business owners, more than triple that of U.S.-born business owners" - Twitter

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

Mark Parker, Nike CEO

"Nike stands together against bigotry and any form of discrimination. Now more than ever, let’s stand up for our values and remain open and inclusive as a brand and as a company." 

- Read full statement here

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Brian Chesky, Airbnb founder

"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected.

"Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing." - Twitter

REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola CEO

"Coca-Cola Co. is resolute in its commitment to diversity, fairness and inclusion, and we do not support this travel ban or any policy that is contrary to our core values and beliefs." -e-mailed statement

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich 

Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO

"As a global company, we depend upon the diverse sources of talent that our teammates represent.

"In view of this, we are closely monitoring the recent refugee- and immigration-related executive order in the United States, and subsequent developments." - Memo to employees


Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO

"Drivers who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen and live in the U.S. but have left the country, will not be able to return for 90 days. This means they won't be able to earn money and support their families during this period." - Facebook

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia CEO

"I believe that with this Executive Order, our President has reverted to the short game. The U.S. may be ever so slightly less dangerous as a place to live, but it will certainly be seen as a smaller nation, one that is inward-looking versus forward thinking, reactionary versus visionary." - Memo to employees


Jeff Immelt, General Electric CEO

"These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and partners." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Trip Advisor CEO Stephen Kaufer

"We need to do more, not less, to help refugees. Trumps action was wrong on humanitarian grounds, legal grounds, and won't make us 'safer.' " - Twitter

(Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)

Salesforce CEO Vala Afshar

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO

"40% of Fortune 500 founded by immigrants or their children. All ethnicities should have access to opportunity -- founding principle of U.S." - Twitter

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff

"When we close our hearts & stop loving other people as ourselves (MK 12:31) we forget who we truly are---a light unto the nations. " - Twitter

(Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)


As evidence, Chin cited remarks that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made last week at a gathering of the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., where he linked rising violent crime to illegal immigration.

"People who come here unlawfully and commit crimes, they are going to be out of here," Sessions said last week. "The law says they have to be deported."

Chin, who attended the gathering, told reporters that he interpreted Sessions as saying that crime is rising — "I didn't know if that was true, but he said crime is on the uprise" — and that it's being committed by people who are in the country illegally. He said Sessions appeared to be arguing that "if we remove people who are unlawfully in this country, then crime will go down."

Sessions, he said, almost appeared to be advocating for "a system where there are certain 'races' that are going to be presumptively in a second-class type of environment, and there will be a 'superior race' that is running everything."

Trump's original executive order, which the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals soon put on hold, barred entry for 90 days for nationals of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. Iraq was dropped from the list of countries in the revised order.

Hawaii this week became the first state to challenge the new order in court. A hearing is scheduled in U.S. District Court in Honolulu next Wednesday.

Related: Washington State Wants Restraining Order Applied to Trump's New Travel Ban

Chin said Thursday that the language of the new order can't wipe out past statements made by Trump and members of his administration — statements that include those made by Sessions last week and that Chin said would be noted in Hawaii's court arguments.

"This is the first time that a president has made such a broad, sweeping kind of executive order that bans people purely based upon their nationality," he said.

"In other words, it's saying if you're from one of these six countries, you are presumptively a terrorist. To us, that's bringing us back to a time before I was even born, a time that our prior generation lived under, that's a dark chapter that I don't believe we should repeat."

The Trump administration has yet to respond. But an administration official, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely about pending litigation, said Thursday night that Chin was not only wrong but was actually being "offensive."

Noting that the revised order makes no mention of Islam or any other religion, the official said, "the vast majority of majority-Muslim counties are not included — including the nations with the world's largest Muslim populations: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria."

Moreover, the official said, "the criteria for selection [were] based on a determination made by the previous administration and Congress that these were counties that were unable or unwilling to provide enough data on their nationals in order to properly screen them before entry into the U.S. ...

"We're not assuming everyone is a terrorist," the official said. "We're just not going to assume that everyone isn't."

Chin is a Democrat, but he denied Thursday that he was taking the lead in opposing the revised order to advance a political position.

"I don't see this as a 'Democrat' thing or an agenda thing," he said. "I see it as a racist thing."

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