On Friday, a Seattle federal judge placed a restraining order on President Trump’s executive order that had barred nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S.
The temporary nationwide block was met with much resistance from the White House since Trump’s travel ban was thought to be “lawful and appropriate.” A statement was made suggesting that the U.S. Department of Justice would quickly appeal the judge’s decision. The White House indicated in a statement, "The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”
The outcome of the judge’s ruling, however, is a temporary suspension of the ban by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which confirmed early on Saturday that “standard policy and procedures” prior to Trump’s order would take effect immediately.
DHS announced: "In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States’.”
Trump criticized the judge’s ruling as “ridiculous” and cautioned that the U.S. would be in big trouble if it could not control its own borders. The legal battle over Trump’s executive order, signed into effect only two weeks after inauguration, will be extended with the judge’s action.
Trump’s travel ban has caused hundreds of affected individuals to be denied entry to the U.S. and therefore detained at airports. Nationals of the following seven countries were affected by the order: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, with the ban also applying to refugees who, in some cases, had been awaiting processing of their asylum applications for several years already. Nearly 60,000 visas were suspended due to Trump’s order.
Several lawsuits have been filed for specific individuals over Trump’s executive order. However, the first lawsuit to apply the ruling across the entire country was made in Washington state by Judge James Robart. The case was made that the travel ban had caused the state unreasonable harm. Both students and faculty in Washington, for instance, were stranded overseas after the ban came into effect. Companies based in Washington, including Amazon.com and Expedia, both confirmed that the travel ban was harming their businesses. The ban had particularly negative consequences to IT companies, which rely on hiring employees from abroad.
Judge Robart explained that there had been no attacks in the U.S. by nationals from any of the seven affected countries since 9-11, so using the September 11th attacks as a reasoning for the ban was completely unjustified.
Robart’s ruling to suspend Trump’s ban was of course welcomed by protestors across the country. Judges throughout the U.S. are acknowledging that Trump’s executive order has constitutional problems. Although the temporary suspension is offering some relief to those affected by the travel ban, an Amnesty International USA spokesman stressed that Congress should block the ban for good.
As of Friday night, people have been rushing to take advantage of the judge’s ruling by traveling back to the U.S. before an appeal is made by the Trump administration. Uber’s CEO tweeted “We have a team of in-house attorneys who’ve been working night and day to get U.S. resident drivers and stranded families back into [the U.S.].”
Nationals from any of the seven countries included in the ban may allegedly travel back to the U.S. at this point. On Friday night, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) informed U.S. airlines that travellers from the affected countries with valid visas should be allowed to board flights to the U.S. There is no confirmation, however, as to whether or not visas that have been illegally cancelled will be re-issued, or whether individuals will have to reapply. Prior to travel to the U.S., individuals are urged to consult with immigration lawyers. Those inside the U.S. are cautioned to remain in the country until immigration rulings are clearly defined.
Since Judge Robart’s federal ruling on Friday, the suspension of Trump’s executive order has received unanimous praise worldwide. The attorney general of Washington state proclaimed, “No one is above the law, not even the president.”