Airlines, federal agencies, foreign travelers and others scrambled throughout Saturday in response to a weekend court order blocking President Trump’s immigration ban — almost identical to the international response last weekend after Trump issued the executive order that temporarily stopped travelers, immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
A federal judge late Friday in Seattle issued the temporary halt to Trump’s order. And by early afternoon, the departments of State and Homeland Security effectively said that they had responded accordingly.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had filed a formal appeal of the Seattle ruling Saturday night with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Trump, at Mar-a-Lago for the weekend with the first lady to attend the Red Cross Ball, had this to say when a pool reporter asked if has confident he would prevail in court: “We’ll win,” he replied. “For the safety of our country, we’ll win.”
The State Department said it had reversed cancelling visas for related foreigners, after provisionally revoking as many as 60,000 of them to comply with Trump’s Jan. 27 order.
Then Homeland Security announced that it would no longer be directing airlines to prevent visa-holders affected by the order from boarding U.S.-bound planes.
Demonstrators march in London to protest President Trump’s travel ban. (AP)
The agency also said that it had suspended “any and all actions” related to putting in place the terms of the order.
However, by late Saturday afternoon, the response from international airlines still appeared in flux. Several were honoring the temporary halt, while some immigrants were still having trouble boarding planes to America.
Royal Jordanian, for example, had resumed flights from six of the seven countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Somalia — as long as people presented valid visas or green cards.
But African immigration lawyer Julie Goldberg was struggling Saturday to arrange flights at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport for stranded Yemeni citizens with visas.
And Goldberg said she was told by Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines that immigrants from the seven countries are still not being allowed to fly.
Trump’s executive order also halted a refugee program from the seventh country, war-torn Syria. He issued the temporary ban following his winning campaign promise to further protect Americans from what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Like last weekend, when thousands of air travelers were detained at U.S. airports because the executive order was issued with no clear warning, widespread, peaceful demonstrations broke out Saturday.
They occurred again in New York and Washington, D.C., and in such places as Philadelphia, London and Paris.
Trump went Saturday afternoon to his Florida getaway, Mar-a-Lago, where he’ll attend a Red Cross gala. But protests are also forming outside the Palm Beach County resort.
Later in the day Saturday, Trump said on Twitter: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” He added that “very bad and dangerous” people may now come into the U.S. because of the judge’s “terrible” ruling.
Earlier, Trump called the judge who issued the temporary restraining order a “so-called judge” and vowed that the order would be “overturned!”
Trump’s tweet about Robart also resulted in criticism from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“The president’s attack … shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution,” the New York Democrat said.
Trump’s tweet also followed 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.
The halt late Friday was issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who is an appointee of George W. Bush. He said 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.
Washington became the first state to sue over the order, and 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.