- Homeland Security complies with court order
Demola Ojo with Agency Reports
The US Department of Justice has appealed against the suspension of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim nations. The move seeks to reverse Friday’s ruling by a federal judge in Washington state. Judge James Robart ruled that there were legal grounds to challenge the ban which came into effect through an executive order by President Trump.
Judge Robart, who was appointed by George W Bush, granted a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments from the states of Washington and Minnesota that President Donald Trump’s order unlawfully discriminated against Muslims and caused unreasonable harm. His temporary restraining order on Friday halted the ban with immediate effect.
The state department said it was reversing the cancellation of visas that took effect after President Trump’s order which bars citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.
The reversal of the revoked visas means tens of thousands of people whose visas were not physically canceled after the issuing of the executive order may now travel freely. A justice department official said 100,000 visas had been revoked under the ban. State department figures put the number at 60,000.
The US government moved swiftly yesterday to comply with the federal judge’s order halting the immigration ban. The Department of Homeland Security announced the suspension of all actions to implement the immigration order and said it will resume standard inspections of travellers as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban.
“In accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the executive order,” said acting press secretary Gillian Christensen. “DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.”
However, in a series of tweets yesterday, President Trump wrote: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
Trump also wrote: “When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security – big trouble!”
He added: “Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it’s death & destruction!” The Trump administration argues that the travel ban is designed to protect the US.
Following the judge’s ruling, the International Air Trnsportation Association, a worldwide airline industry trade group, cited US Customs and Border Protection in telling its members to follow procedures “as if the executive order never existed.”
Customs officials told airlines that they could resume boarding banned travellers. Qatar Airways, Air France, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa and others said they would do so.
Judge Robart found that legal challenges launched by Washington and Minnesota, were likely to succeed. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued the ban was unconstitutional.
“Folks who had visas, folks who were allowed to travel were denied that right without any due process whatsoever – that’s un-American and unconstitutional,” he told the BBC.
Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell said the focus of his state’s legal challenge was the way the president’s order targeted Islam.
Courts in at least four other states – Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan – are also hearing cases challenging President Trump’s executive order.