Another blow for Trump's immigration ban
Appeals Court rejects bid to restore travel order
WASHINGTON: The US Justice Department filed an appeal late yesterday to restore President Donald Trump's immigration order that bars citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily bans refugees from entering the US, as travellers race to enter the country while the ban is lifted.
But the US appeals court denied the department's request for an immediate reinstatement.
The 9th US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco asked the state of Washington and the Trump administration to file additional arguments by this afternoon (US time).
The US government was moving to reverse a federal judge's Friday order that lifted the travel ban, warning that the decision posed an immediate harm to the public, thwarted enforcement of an executive order and second-guessed the President's national security judgment.
Friday's ruling, by Seattle US District Judge James Robart, also prompted Mr Trump to denounce the "so-called" judge in a series of tweets on Saturday.
The appeal now goes to a three-judge panel, which can act at any time to uphold the order or suspend it pending a full appeal.
Mr Robart's ruling barred the administration from enforcing the sweeping order, which had prompted large protests across the US.
Mr Trump said he was confident the government would prevail.
"We will win. For the safety of the country, we will win," he told reporters in Florida.
Mr Robart's ruling came in a case brought by the attorney-general of the state of Washington.
The lawsuit is one of several now filed against the Trump executive order around the US, but it was the first case leading to a broad decision that applies nationwide.
The Justice Department appeal criticised Mr Robart's legal reasoning and said the state of Washington lacked standing to challenge the order and did not identify any legal defect in the order.
State lawyers worked around the clock last weekend against the backdrop of turbulent scenes at US airports, where immigrants were detained by federal officials unprepared to implement the President's directive.
The State Department and Department of Homeland Security said they are complying with Mr Robart's order and many visitors were expected to start arriving, while the government said it expects to begin admitting refugees again today.
A decision to reinstate Mr Trump's order could again cause havoc at US airports as some visitors are in transit, as was the case when the order took effect on Jan 27.
The panel that will decide whether to immediately block the ruling comprises judges appointed by former Republican president George W. Bush and two former Democratic presidents, Mr Jimmy Carter and Mr Barack Obama. - REUTERS