A U.S. appeal court late on Saturday denied a request from the Department of Justice to immediately restore an immigration order from President Donald Trump barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries and temporarily banning refugees. The court ruling dealt a further setback to Trump, who has denounced the judge in the state of Washington who blocked his executive order on Friday. In tweets and comments to reporters, the president has insisted he will get the ban reinstated.
Trump says the 90-day travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day bar on all refugees, are necessary to protect the United States from Islamist militants. Critics say the measures are unjustified and discriminatory. The judge's order and the appeal ruling have created what may be a short-lived opportunity for travelers from the seven affected countries to get into the United States while the legal uncertainty continues. "This is the first time I try to travel to America. We were booked to travel next week but decided to bring it forward after we heard," said a Yemeni woman, recently married to a U.S. citizen, who boarded a plane from Cairo to Turkey on Sunday to connect with a U.S.-bound flight. She declined to be named for fear it could complicate her entry to the United States.
In a brief order, the U.S. appeals court said the government's request for an immediate administrative stay on the Washington judge's decision had been denied. It was awaiting further submissions from Washington and Minnesota states on Sunday, and from the government on Monday. Reacting to the court's statement, Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said: "It is a move in the right direction to solve the problems that it caused."
"WHAT IS OUR COUNTRY COMING TO?"
Trump's Jan. 27 travel restrictions have drawn protests in the United States, provoked criticism from U.S. allies and created chaos for thousands of people who have, in some cases, spent years seeking asylum. In his ruling in Washington state on Friday, Judge James Robart questioned the use of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States as a justification for the ban, saying no attacks had been carried out on U.S. soil by individuals from the seven affected countries since then.
For Trump's order to be constitutional, Robart said, it had to be "based in fact, as opposed to fiction." The 9/11 attacks were carried out by hijackers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, whose nationals were not affected by the order. In a series of tweets on Saturday, Trump attacked "the opinion of this so-called judge" as ridiculous. "What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?" he asked.