President Trump made clear Saturday that the White House will fight a recent judge’s ruling that effectively stops his immigration ban.
A federal judge in Seattle late Friday imposed a nationwide hold on Trump’s temporary ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“The Constitution prevailed today,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a press release. “No one is above the law — not even the President.”
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
U.S. District Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush apointee, ruled that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump’s executive order on immigration. So he issued the temporary, nationwide restraining order based on his opinion that the states showed their case is likely to succeed.
Trump issued the temporary ban following his winning campaign promise to further protect Americans from radical Islamic terrorism.
“When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security — big trouble!” Trump said in two other tweets Saturday. “Interesting that certain Middle Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in its death & destruction!”
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
The State Department confirmed Saturday that it has reversed the executive order’s provisional revoking of visas, saying, “Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid.”
The agency said it also is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and their legal teams and will provide further updates as soon as information is available.
A purported 60,000 people from the affected countries have had their visas cancelled since the ban took effect last weekend.
The New York Times first reported Friday night that airlines have been told by the government to begin allowing these travelers on planes to the United States.
And Qatar Airways announced on its website Saturday that it has been directed by the U.S. government to permit formerly banned passengers to board U.S.-bound flights, as a result of the judge’s ruling.
Trump’s tweet about the ruling being “overturned” follows White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer releasing a statement late Friday saying the administration “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, the White House sent out a new statement 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.
Trump’s order last week sparked protests nationwide and confusion at airports as some travelers were detained. The White House has argued that it will make the country safer.
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.
Ferguson, a Democrat, said the travel ban significantly harms residents and effectively mandates discrimination. Minnesota joined the lawsuit two days later.
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 Trump’s order. Court challenges have been filed nationwide from states and advocacy groups.
Justice Department lawyers say about 100,000 visas — not 60,000 — had been revoked.
The State Department clarified that the higher figure includes diplomatic and other visas that were actually exempted from the travel ban, as well as expired visas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.