Trump administration fights back against travel ban suspension

Published February 5th, 2017 - 10:00 GMT
Protesters gather to denounce US President Donald Trump's executive order that bans certain immigration, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Dallas, Texas January 28, 2017. (AFP/File)
Protesters gather to denounce US President Donald Trump's executive order that bans certain immigration, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Dallas, Texas January 28, 2017. (AFP/File)

The US Justice Department Saturday filed a notice to appeal a federal judge's decision that temporarily halted the implementation of President Donald Trump's one-week-old immigration order.

The department filed its appeal seeking the reinstatement of the controversial executive order temporarily suspending the US refugee programme, temporarily banning travellers from seven majority-Muslim countries and indefinitely banning Syrian refugees.

The development is another in a rapid turn of events since Trump signed the order eight days into his presidency.

Trump's order was suspended nationwide late Friday in a ruling issued by a US District Court in Seattle. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) followed up by ordering its border control agents not to enforce the order, which Trump has said is meant to keep out potential terrorists.

The judge's decision angered Trump, who is spending the weekend in Florida. Earlier Saturday he said on Twitter that the district court judge's opinion was ridiculous and would be overturned.

The DHS decision opens a window of time for refugees and people from the seven Muslim-majority countries - Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen - who have obtained visas to enter the United States. It also means Trump's move to suspend the refugee programme and block the entry of Syrian refugees are temporarily on hold.

The DHS said in a statement it had suspended "any and all actions" implementing the affected sections of the executive order. It said this includes actions to suspend rules on passenger screening.

The department, which oversees US Customs and Border Protection, will resume inspection of travelers under standard policy and procedure, the statement said.

The White House earlier Saturday had proclaimed the executive order was "lawful and appropriate" and intended to protect the homeland and the American people.

Trump sent a rhetorical tweet Saturday after returning from the Trump International Golf Club.

"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 US?" he wrote.

Trump had already denounced US District Judge James Robart for granting the Washington state attorney general's request to immediately halt his executive order.

Trump criticized Robart, whose court is in Seattle, and vowed to have his ruling overturned.

"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

There were more protests against Trump's temporary travel ban in Washington and other major cities.

Groups sponsoring the Washington rally said on Twitter that protest marches were planned in several US cities, including West Palm Beach, where Trump is spending the weekend.

The rapid turn of events follows the second full week of Trump's presidency and brings more uncertainty over the controversial ban.

Opposition Democrats in the US Congress reacted positively to the developments.

Nancy Pelosi, minority leader of the House of Representatives, said the ruling was a "victory for our values, our security and our Constitution."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi, saying in a statement that Trump's attack on the judge shows a "disdain" for an independent judiciary that does not bend to his wishes.


© 2022 dpa GmbH

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