Legal battle continues after Trump administration files appeal to ruling that saw restrictions halted
The DOJ had filed an official appeal on Saturday night over a federal court ruling issued late Friday in Washington state by US District Court Judge James Robart. It was Robart's ruling, which included a temporary restraining order, that led both the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday morning to halt their enforcement of the ban.
As CNN reports:
The Justice Department's strongly worded [Saturday night] court filing lodged a multi-pronged attack on Robart's decision, emphasizing that halting enforcement of the travel ban "harms the public" and "second-guesses the President's national security judgment" in the immigration context.
"(Robart's ruling) contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the President should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens," the Justice Department wrote in its filing.
"Courts are particularly ill-equipped to second-guess the President's prospective judgment about future risks. …Unlike the President, courts do not have access to classified information about the threat posed by terrorist organizations operating in particular nations, the efforts of those organizations to infiltrate the United States, or gaps in the vetting process."
But though the Ninth Circuit agreed to hear the appeal—and asked for all parties to submit legal briefs to support their cases with a Monday deadline—it refused Trump's request to have the travel restrictions reimposed, stating: "Appellants' request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied."
Since news arrived Saturday that the restrictions were lifted and airlines were told they could once again allow travelers from the targeted countries with proper documents to board planes to the U.S., those who had been left in limbo—many separated from families, employment opportunities, or school—were reportedly moving fast to make arrangements.
According to Reuters:
Iraqi Fuad Sharef, his wife and three children spent two years obtaining U.S. visas. They had packed up to move to America last week, but were turned back to Iraq after a failed attempt to board a U.S.-bound flight from Cairo.
On Sunday, the family checked in for a Turkish Airlines flight to New York from Istanbul.
"Yeah, we are very excited. We are very happy," Sharef told Reuters TV. "Finally, we have been cleared. We are allowed to enter the United States."
Rana Shamasha, 32, an Iraqi refugee in Lebanon, was due to travel to the United States with her two sisters and mother on Feb. 1 to join relatives in Detroit until their trip was canceled as a result of the travel ban.
She is now waiting to hear from U.N. officials overseeing their case. "If they tell me there is a plane tomorrow morning, I will go. If they tell me there is one in an hour, I will go," she told Reuters by telephone in Beirut, saying their bags were still packed. "I no longer have a house here, work, or anything," she said.
An official at Beirut airport said three Syrian families had left for the United States via Europe on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, immigration experts and refugeee advocates, celebrated the court's ability to push back against the ban they argue is unconstitutional.
(This story was first published on Common Dreams.)