U.S. Customs & Border Protection told U.S. airlines Friday night they could once again board travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations who had been barred by the president's order. Follow our live updates.
What you need to know:
- U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle on Friday ordered a national halt, with a temporary restraining order, to enforcement of President Trump’s controversial travel ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Here’s the written ruling.
- U.S. Customs & Border Protection told U.S. airlines Friday night they could once again board travelers who had been barred by the ban, which went into effect after Trump signed an executive order Jan. 27. The order sparked chaos among families, advocates and other. Confusion reigned at airports. And there was a wave of protests in Seattle and nationwide.
- The White House vowed to appeal Robart’s decision immediately. Trump denounced the “opinion of this so-called judge” saying the ruling “will be overturned!” in a tweet.
- Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that an attack on a federal judge is “beneath the dignity” of the presidency.
- The ruling in Washington comes amid other legal battles over Trump’s travel ban in states across the country. On Friday, a federal judge in Massachusetts sided with the Trump administration. The disparate rulings may eventually push the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Update: Sunday, 6:45 a.m.:
Federal appeals court rejects travel ban’s immediate reinstatement
Overnight, a federal appeals court denied the Justice Department’s request to immediately reinstate President Trump’s ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees.
The Trump administration’s appeal is seeking to undo the temporary restraining order put in place Friday by U.S. District Judge James Robart, a decision that shut down the ban nationwide, at least for now. Lawyers for the Trump administration argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security, according to The Associated Press.
The court asked the ban’s challengers to respond to the appeal, and for the Justice Department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.
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Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson last week filed the challenge to Trump’s travel ban, an executive order signed Jan. 27.
In his Friday ruling, Robart said Washington state had met the high burden to justify a restraining order by showing that Trump’s order was causing “immediate and irreparable injury,” and that the state had a substantial likelihood of winning its underlying lawsuit challenging the travel ban’s constitutionality.
Update, 4:47 p.m.:
Trump administration files notice of appeal
The Justice Department is appealing Judge James Robart’s ruling.
In filing with the court Saturday afternoon, government lawyers are setting the stage for what they hope will be a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to end the stay on the travel ban imposed Friday by Robart.
Update, 2:38 p.m.:
‘The old normal’ returns to Sea-Tac
The first flight from the Middle East to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since the immigration order was halted arrived Saturday afternoon without apparent incident. Passengers reported they did not see anyone blocked from boarding the flight when it left Dubai. It was unclear if anyone on the flight would have been barred from flying if the executive order had still been in effect.
A group of volunteer lawyers, loosely organized by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, stood watch at international baggage claim, as has been the case all week, ready to try and help if any travelers had problems with Customs.
“No one was subject to detention or secondary screening as far as we could tell,” said Timothy Chou, one of the lawyers. “From what we’ve heard, things are pretty normal, as in before the executive order. The old normal.”
— David Gutman
Update, 2:23 p.m.:
‘I have more faith’
A Syrian man living with his wife and two children in Tukwila said he was initially elated upon hearing of Judge Robart’s order. The man, who asked to be known only by his first name Ahmed, has been waiting for his two adult children, now in Turkey, to join the rest of the family.
Speaking through an interpreter, Ahmed said he was optimistic that his two children — a 21-year-old son and a 23-year-old daughter, who is seven months pregnant and planning on immigrating with her husband — would be able to come, if not immediately, then in a month or two.
“I have more faith this is a democratic state,” he said.
His children in Turkey need to wait for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to approve their flight. It is only once on board that IOM will hand them documents allowing them to stay in the U.S.
The IOM office in Turkey was closed for the weekend, but Ahmed’s son reached an employee who seemed doubtful that any action could be taken soon.
Ahmed, an electrician who has been taking English classes since he arrived in December, said his family is now anxiously awaiting news. “If the situation continues as it is, I won’t be able to work because of the emotional toll.”
— Nina Shapiro
Update, 1:45 p.m.:
President Trump questions role of a branch of government
President Trump sent a pair of tweets stating that U.S. District Judge James Robart’s ruling threatens the safety of the country.
Update, 12:10 p.m.:
Feds announce executive order no longer being enforced
Here is the latest statement from the Department of Homeland Security, announcing that the executive order is no longer being enforced and that the Justice Department intends to file for an emergency stay of Judge James Robart’s order:
“In accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.’
This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order.
DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.
At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the president’s Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate. The order is intended to protect the homeland and the American people, and the president has no higher duty and responsibility than to do so.”
— Nina Shapiro
Update: Saturday, 11:54 a.m.:
The scene at Sea-Tac; local family still waiting for loved one
The situation was calm at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday morning, despite fears of chaos following a Seattle federal judge’s ruling temporarily blocking President Trump’s travel ban.
Most people affected by the ban were not able to book flights immediately after Friday’s order. “I don’t think word got out in time,” said Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
Barón said he is contact with a local family member of an Iraqi who has been stuck in Jordan while waiting to come live in the U.S. The Iraqi, who has authorization to immigrate, according to Barón, tried to book a flight Friday night to Chicago, where other family members live, but could not find an airline willing to take him.
“As of the middle of the night, things were moving and it was starting to open up,” said Cindy Heidelberg, a volunteer attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). She said, however, speaking Saturday morning, “What I’m hearing on the ground is that the airlines are still hesitant.”
Heidelberg said she also heard Saturday morning from two other IRAP volunteer attorneys at Sea-Tac morning that U.S. Customs & Border Protection officials there said they would be resuming normal operations after the temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart.
On Friday night, the Trump administration promised an emergency appeal “at the earliest possible time.” As of Saturday morning, the office of Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson — which sued the Trump administration over the executive order and won the restraining order — had not heard from the administration, a spokesman said. Also, there were no new filings in the court’s online docket.
— Nina Shapiro, David Gutman