A federal judge’s order blocking President Trump’s ban on admitting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries or any refugees left authorities and advocates wondering what to do Saturday with the people who finally got visas to come to America, only to be turned away.
The White House said it would try to get a court to reinstate the ban that prompted the State Department to cancel visas for 60,000 or more people from the affected countries, causing widespread confusion at airports when some travelers were detained and others sent back.
The Justice Department declined to file an emergency stay to the judge’s order on Friday night, CBS News justice reporter Paula Reid reports. The White House said it will file a motion at the earliest possible time.
An internal email circulated among Homeland Security officials Friday night told employees to immediately comply with the judge’s ruling. However, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said Saturday that they’re still awaiting guidance on what to tell Iraqis eager to see if their visa restrictions had changed.
“We don’t know what the effect will be, but we’re working to get more information,” the embassy told The Associated Press in a statement.
The judge’s order was a victory for Washington and Minnesota, which had challenged Mr. Trump’s directive. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order, ruling the states had standing and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.
“The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury,” Robart said.
Mr. Trump’s order had caused widespread confusion at airports as some travelers were detained. The White House has argued that it will make the country safer.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer released a statement late Friday saying the government “will file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate.” Soon after, a revised statement was sent out that removed the word “outrageous.”
“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” the statement said.
Washington became the first state to sue over the order that temporarily bans travel for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen and suspends the U.S. refugee program globally.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the travel ban significantly harms residents and effectively mandates discrimination. Minnesota joined the lawsuit two days later.
After the ruling, Ferguson said people from the affected countries can now apply for entry to the U.S.
“Judge Robart’s decision, effective immediately ... puts a halt to President Trump’s unconstitutional and unlawful executive order,” Ferguson said. “The law is a powerful thing - it has the ability to hold everybody accountable to it, and that includes the president of the United States.”
The judge’s ruling could be appealed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The judge’s written order, released late Friday, said it’s not the court’s job to “create policy or judge the wisdom of any particular policy promoted by the other two branches” of government.
The court’s role “is limited to ensuring that the actions taken by the other two branches comport with our country’s laws.”
Robart said federal defendants “and their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys and persons acting in concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined and restrained from” enforcing the executive order.
A State Department official told CBS News Friday: “We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and our legal teams to determine how this affects our operations. We will announce any changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.”
Federal attorneys had argued that Congress gave the president authority to make decisions on national security and immigrant entry.
The two states won a temporary restraining order while the court considers the lawsuit, which aims to permanently block Mr. Trump’s order. Court challenges have been filed nationwide from states and advocacy groups.