A federal judge in Seattle has temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry into the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries.
US District Judge James Robart, who was appointed by President George Bush in 2003, issued a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration's restrictions, ruling that the ban would be immediately stopped nationwide.
Within hours of the ruling, US Customs and Border Protection officials told major American airlines on a conference call to begin allowing previously barred passengers on US-bound flights. However, the White House issued a statement late Friday announcing that the Department of Justice would file an emergency halt of judge's order. Before sending a second, revised statement to the media, the White House called the judge's ruling "outrageous."
While the federal government argues that the ban protects the country from these countries, Judge Robart said he found “no support” for those claims.
“This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. "We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order.”
In Attorney Ferguson’s 90-page lawsuit, he claims the Trump administration is violating the Constitution’s protections for religious freedom. The state of Minnesota has also joined the state of Washington’s lawsuit which is backed by major companies including Amazon, Expedia, and several institutions of higher-education.
New York and Virginia have also taken legal action against the president.
Reacting to the complaint, White House attorneys issued a response brief, claiming that Washington state is unable to challenge the President and his intentions.
“Every President over the last 30 years has invoked this authority to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of certain aliens or classes of aliens, in some instances including classifications based on nationality,” the brief reads, according to the Seattle Times. The brief also claims that foreign nationals do not have the constitutional right to enter the country.
Attorney Ferguson filed his lawsuit on Monday, promising to continue his fight against the ban.
“I want to be very clear, what the judge announced today was nationwide the president’s executive order does not apply,” he told reporters on Friday.
President Trump’s order banned immigration for 90 days from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also halted the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely along with all other refugees for 120 days, sparking confusion and outrage resulting in mass protests across the states.
"We only challenged the parts that are actually affecting people immediately, which are the parts about refugees and the parts about targeting these seven countries,” Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell told reporters, “the parts that have getting so much attention and have been causing such immediate harm to people, stranding them oversees and such, are enjoined right away."
Earlier in the day, State Department officials announced that fewer than 60,000 visas had been revoked under the travel ban. The officials revealed the number after a government lawyer in a Virginia courthouse claimed that 100,000 visas had been rescinded.