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  World   Americas  04 Feb 2017  In severe legal blow, judge blocks Donald Trump travel ban

In severe legal blow, judge blocks Donald Trump travel ban

AFP
Published : Feb 4, 2017, 8:15 am IST
Updated : Feb 4, 2017, 8:27 am IST

The order technically means that anyone with a valid visa must be allowed entry into the country by Customs and Border Protection.

Friday's ruling was not the first to challenge the travel ban, but it was the most sweeping as it effectively vacated the main tenets of the order. (Photo: AFP)
 Friday's ruling was not the first to challenge the travel ban, but it was the most sweeping as it effectively vacated the main tenets of the order. (Photo: AFP)

Los Angeles: A federal judge in Seattle on Friday ordered a temporary, nationwide halt to President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, in the most severe legal blow to the controversial measure.

The temporary restraining order issued by US District Judge James Robart will remain valid nationwide pending a full review of a complaint by Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson.

 

"The constitution prevailed today," Ferguson said, describing the judge's decision as historic. "No one is above the law not even the president."

"I said from the beginning it is not the loudest voice that prevails in a courtroom, it's the constitution," he added, pointing out that Robart was appointed by Republican president George W. Bush.

Friday's ruling was not the first to challenge the travel ban, but it was the most sweeping as it effectively vacated the main tenets of the order.

Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Ferguson said the order technically means that anyone with a valid visa must be allowed entry into the country by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

 

It was unclear, however, whether the Trump administration would mount a legal challenge or whether federal border agents would abide by the ruling.

Robart's decision came after Ferguson filed a suit to invalidate key provisions of Trump's executive order which bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocks citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entry into the US for 90 days. Refugees from countries other than Syria are barred from entry for 120 days.

The State Department said Friday that up to 60,000 foreigners from the seven countries concerned had their visas cancelled as a result of the order. A Justice Department attorney, however, told a court hearing in Virginia that about 100,000 visas had been revoked.

 

Battle not over

Washington Governor Jay Inslee welcomed the ruling as a "tremendous victory" but warned that the battle to overturn Trump's executive order was not over.

"There is still more to do," he said in a statement. "The fight isn't yet won. But we should feel heartened by today's victory and more resolute than ever that we are fighting on the right side of history."

Ferguson said in his complaint that the president's ban violated the constitutional rights of immigrants and their families as it specifically targets Muslims.

However attorneys representing the Trump administration argued that as president, he had broad powers and was within his right to issue an order that protects Americans.

 

Trump's order has been met with an uproar by rights groups and immigration attorneys who say it specifically targets Muslims and has unfairly affected families, many of them US citizens.

The White House argues that the ban is aimed at making the country safer.

Tags: donald trump, trump travel ban, us court, us visa