The White House said the Justice Department will challenge a judge’s nationwide halt of US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement on Friday night.
“The President’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”
Earlier on Friday, Federal Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee in Seattle, granted the injunction at the request of Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose office said that the order applies nationwide, CNN reported.
“The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfil its constitutional role in our tripartite government,” Robart wrote in the order.
By Friday evening, Customs and Border Protection alerted airlines that it would begin reinstating visas quickly.
Trump’s executive order that he signed last week suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, the US refugee programme for 120 days and indefinitely halted Syrian refugees from entering the US.
“This is exactly what we were looking for,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told CNN shortly after Robart’s order, adding that “we have a bucket of Constitutional claims”.
This suit was brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota against the travel ban enacted by Trump’s executive order.
The sweeping ruling from the Seattle judge came just hours after a different ruling from a federal judge in Boston, who declined to renew a temporary restraining order in Massachusetts.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman told CNN the agency will review the order and comply with all court orders.
The State Department is working with the Department of Homeland Security to determine the effect of the stay.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, immediately hailed Robart’s order.
“This ruling is a victory for the Constitution and for all of us who believe this un-American executive order will not make us safer,” Schumer said in a statement.
“President Trump should heed this ruling and he ought to back off and repeal the executive order once and for all.”