WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii leaders are weighing in on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban, a policy that put the state at the forefront of a months-long legal challenge.
Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, who led Hawaii's challenge against the travel ban when he served as attorney general, issued a statement saying, "I hurt today for Hawaii families and others who have experienced discrimination and scapegoating due to President Trump's bullying remarks and orders."
Current Attorney General Russell Suzuki agreed and added that the office continues to believe that the travel ban is "unconstitutional."
And U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz also weighed in, saying, "The Supreme Court made the wrong decision and ignored the evidence that the Muslim ban, even the more narrowly tailored version, is a xenophobic policy that makes our country no safer than before."
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who's been a staunch critic of Trump and his policies, said "today is a dark day for our country" and claimed the Supreme Court "handed the president unfettered power to continue to target minorities."
Hakim Ouansafi, the head of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, called the decision a "setback" for the nation, but says it will make travel ban opponents even more determined to keep an eye on the President.
"Just because the (Supreme Court) said so, it doesn't make it moral. It's very much inconsistent with what this country stands for: love, compassion, mercy," said Ouansafi.
Meanwhile, Shirlene Ostrov, chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, lauded the Supreme Court's decision.
"I think the current policy really does ensure that we put the safety of the American people first and make sure we fight for immigration system that serves our national interest and our citizens," Ostrov said.
The 5-4 decision is the court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.
This version, which was initially introduced in September 2017, included a ban on travel from mostly Muslim countries. The list included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. Chad was later removed from the list.
The nation's highest court allowed the policy to take full effect in December despite ongoing challenge.President Trump signed the initial ban in January 2017, claiming it would keep terrorists out of the country. The executive order blocked travel into the U.S. by people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also set up a 120-day ban on all refugees.
That ban sparked chaos and protests at airports across the U.S.
After all the legal challenges, Trump signed a revised version of the order in March of 2017. It removed Iraq from the list and allowed exemptions for green-card holders, dual citizens and others holding visas.
As more challenges ensued, Trump signed the third and current version of the ban in September.
Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the travel ban from taking effect, saying the new version looked too much like its predecessors.
This story will be updated.