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US and Britain restrict carry-on electronics from Middle East, North Africa flights

[JURIST] On Tuesday, the United States and Britain decided to restrict carry-on electronics [Reuters article] on planes from Muslim-majority countries to combat 'security threats.' Under the restrictions, passengers coming to the US from designated countries, most of which are Middle Eastern or North African, cannot take electronic devices larger than a cellphone into the cabin; the items are required to be in checked baggage. Likewise, similar restrictions have been implemented in Britain in order to prevent the smuggling of explosive devices inside electronic devices. The ban, which US government officials have said would continue for the "foreseeable future," hinted that similar restrictions could expand out to different airports and different countries. While some, including White House spokesman Sean Spicer, said the restrictions were the result of legitimate concerns within the intelligence community, many civil liberties groups have expressed their belief that the restrictions are an alternative response from President Trump, whose travel ban has been challenged in courts throughout the country.

The Trump administration's attempted travel ban, preventing citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US, has led to a controversial debate within the US on immigration and migrant rights. On Monday a Hawaii federal judge who issued one of the injunctions refused to clarify [JURIST report] his travel ban ruling. Judge Derrick Watson strongly condemned the new travel ban, saying "[t]he illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable, " in his opinion [text, PDF]. Last week a Washington federal judge who ruled against Trump's first travel ban declined [JURIST report] to extend the injunction on the revised ban. Also last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] denied [JURIST report] a rehearing on Trump's first ban noting that the issue had become moot because the DOJ had withdrawn its appeal on the first ban. The DOJ requested a hold on the appeal proceedings in February and later DOJ withdrew [JURIST reports] it after Trump signed his revised ban.

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