- Here are the main facts about the executive order, and the court action surrounding them:
Washington, United States | AFP |.A move by President Donald Trump's administration to appeal a federal court suspension of its immigration ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations is the latest twist in what could be a long legal battle with high stakes.
Here are the main facts about the executive order, and the court action surrounding them:
- Executive order -
The decree prohibits entry to all refugees, regardless of nationality, for 120 days, and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely.
It also suspended the issuance of visas for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
- Federal court action -
Judge James Robart of the federal district court in Seattle ordered the nationwide suspension of the president's order.
His ruling stands until the court can study a complaint filed by the Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson. Critics including Ferguson say the measure unfairly targets Muslims.
Federal judges in several other states -- notably California and New York -- have also ruled against Trump's executive order, but Robart's ruling has by far the greatest sweep.
- Travel ban lifted... for now -
"Those individuals with visas that were not physically canceled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid," a State Department spokesperson said Saturday.
And the Department of Homeland Security, which has authority over border police, said that it was reverting to "standard policy and procedure."
Some airlines began quickly accepting passengers traveling to the United States from the affected countries.
The State Department said that 60,000 visas that had been revoked were again being honored, provided they were not cancelled with a physical stamp.
- Trump's next move -
Late Saturday, the Justice Department challenged the federal district judge's ruling. It will now move to a federal appeals court
If the appeals court were to uphold Robart's ruling, the case could go to the Supreme Court, said Peter Spiro, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.
"It could go very, very fast," he added.
But for now, the Justice Department is operating without a permanent boss: Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick as US attorney general, has yet to be confirmed by the full Senate.
- Was the federal ruling unusual? -
Not really. The suspension of Trump's order is reminiscent of the reaction to Barack Obama's executive order of November 2014, which sought to protect from deportation more than four million undocumented immigrants who had been in the country for at least five years.
A federal judge in Texas ruled that Obama had overstepped his powers and blocked the order's implementation. That decision survived an appeal and reached the Supreme Court. Obama ultimately had to give in on what had been a key measure of his second term.
- Lessons to learn? -
Legal experts said Trump's attack on Robart was unusual.
"It's not exactly contempt of court, but it certainly is contemptuous and it conveys a lack of respect for the independent judiciary," said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar and Harvard Law professor.
For Spiro, the Temple law professor, Trump made a mistake by mocking Robart as a "so-called judge."
"That's not something that judges like," he said.