NEW YORK: A federal judge blocked Saturday part of President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban, ordering authorities to stop deporting refugees and other travelers stuck at US airports.
The decision accompanied growing resistance to Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigration, with large protests spreading at major airports across the country.
“Victory!!!!!!” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose lawyers sued the government, tweeted after US District Judge Ann Donnelly issued her decision.
“Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders.”
Trump’s sweeping executive order, signed Friday, suspends the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days and bars visas for travelers from seven Muslim majority countries for the next three months.
The move, which was implemented immediately by US authorities, sparked large protests at major airports across the country. At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, some of the 2,000 demonstrators there chanted “Let them in, let them in!”
Large protests took place at the main airports for Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas.
Donnelly’s decision to issue a temporary stay — which stopped short of ruling on the constitutionality of Trump’s order — came after dozens of people were detained at US airports following Trump’s actions.
The exact number of those affected is unclear, but the judge ordered the government to provide lists of all those detained at US airports since the measure went into effect.
Sending those travelers back to their home countries following Trump’s order exposes them to “substantial and irreparable injury,” wrote Donnelly, who was appointed by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
A second federal judge in Virginia also issued a temporary order restricting immigration authorities for seven days from deporting legal permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport just outside Washington, according to US media.
‘We were prepared’
“We knew that was coming — we were prepared,” said Camille Mackler, a lawyer who heads legal initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition, one of the groups that quickly mounted the demonstration there.