A federal judge in Washington on Friday temporarily put a nationwide block on U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. Airlines have begun plans to begin allowing passengers from banned countries to board, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Judge James Robart who was appointed by President George Bush in 2003,made his ruling effective immediately on Friday, and Customs and Border Protection has already alerted major US airlines that it will begin to reinstate visas.
Following the ruling, government authorities immediately began communicating with airlines and taking steps that would allow travel by those previously barred from doing so, according to a U.S. official.
At the same time, though, the White House said in a statement that the Justice Department would “at the earliest possible time” file for an emergency stay of the “outrageous” ruling from the judge. Minutes later, it issued a similar statement omitting 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 White House said.
The federal judge’s ruling, set up a high-stakes legal confrontation between the new president and the judicial branch over his temporary ban on entry by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries as well as refugees. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart wrote that “fundamental” to the court’s work was “a vigilant recognition that it is but one of three equal branches of our federal government.”
“The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government,” he wrote.
With the Department of Justice reportedly seeking to file the emergency stay as soon as Saturday, it could allow for a narrow time frame for previously barred travelers to enter the country. The state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said:
‘This decision shuts down the executive order right now. No one is above the law — not even the President’.
The ruling however, is temporary. Legal analysts have said the ban could be difficult to permanently undo because the president has broad authority to set immigration policy.