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US appeals court denies Justice Department request to restore Trump's immigration ban

Joe Raedle, Getty Images North America, AFP | People protest against Trump as they gather at the Mar-a-Lago Resort where he is staying for the weekend on February 4, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida.
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A US federal appeals court early Sunday rejected a request by the Department of Justice to immediately reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries and temporarily banning refugees.


"Appellants' request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied," the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said.

It said a reply from the Justice Department in support of the emergency appeal was due on Monday.

The government had moved late Saturday to reverse a federal judge’s Friday order that lifted the travel ban, saying 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 prompted 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 anytime to uphold the order or suspend it pending a full appeal. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment beyond the filing.

The Department filed the appeal a day after the federal judge in Seattle ordered Trump's travel ban to be lifted. The president's Jan. 27 order had barred admission of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen for 90 days.

Seattle US District Judge James Robart’s ruling barred the administration from enforcing the sweeping order that also indefinitely barred Syrian refugee admissions and prompted large protests across the United States.

Trump, whose personal attack on Robart went too far for some who said the president was undermining an institution designed to check the power of the White House and Congress, said he was confident the government would prevail.


“We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win,” he told reporters in Florida.
Robart’s ruling came in a case brought by the state attorney general of Washington State and was backed by major state employers Inc and Expedia Inc.

The lawsuit is one of several now filed against the Trump executive order around the United States, but it was the first case leading to a broad decision that applies nationwide.

The Justice Department appeal criticized Robart’s legal reasoning and said the state of Washington lacked standing to challenge the order and didn’t 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 US State Department and Department of Homeland Security said they were complying with Robart’s order and many visitors are expected to start arriving on Sunday, while the government said it expects to begin admitting refugees again on Monday.

A decision to reinstate Trump’s order could again cause havoc at US airports because some visitors are in transit, as was the case when the order took effect on Jan. 27.

As the ban lifted Friday, refugees and thousands of travelers from the seven countries who had been stopped in their tracks last weekend by the executive order scrambled to get flights to quickly enter the United States.

The panel that will decide whether to immediately block the ruling includes three judges appointed by former Republican president George W. Bush and two former Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.


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