The United States government has told airlines that previously stopped some categories of travellers from boarding planes to the country to start allowing them fly, according to U.S. media.
The instruction came hours after a federal judge temporarily blocked President Donald trump’s executive order banning citizens of some Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
However, the White House vowed late on Friday that it would challenge the “outrageous” ruling, saying it would seek a halt to the judge’s order and restore Mr. Trump’s “lawful and appropriate order”.
“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 government was “arguing that we have to protect the U.S. from individuals from these countries, and here’s no support for that”, said James Robart, a judge of Federal District Court for Washington.
Though far-reaching, the ruling was temporary. It will stay in place until the government is able to provide plausible arguments in support of its policy or obtain a stay of execution.
Mr. Robart’s order specifically targets two parts of Mr. trump’s order: its 90-day suspension of entry into the United States of people from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and its limits on accepting refugees, including “any action that prioritizes the refugee claims of certain religious minorities,” the New York Times reported.
The government had argued that the order, which barred the admission of refugees for 120 days and indefinitely for Syrian refugees, was to allow it to evaluate the process for vetting refugees and other immigrants in order to safeguard the country against terrorism.
It added that after the temporary halt, persecuted religious minorities would be given preference. In fact, Mr. Trump disclosed in an interview that the United States would give Christians from those countries priority because they had suffered “more so than others.”
“What we’re seeing here is the courts standing up to the unconstitutional ban that President Trump imposed. There’s obviously more litigation to come, but this is truly good news for the many people both in this country and abroad who have been unfairly targeted on the basis of their religion by this ban,” Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the A.C.L.U, told the New York Times.
The ruling rendered the decision of a Boston federal judge, Nathaniel Gorton, who ruled in a favour of the Trump administration few hours earlier moot.
The judge had declined to extend a temporary halt to the order in that jurisdiction.
Mr. Gorton, said that while the nation’s immigration history was a source of great pride and that the plaintiffs in that case — Iranian nationals who are academics — had compelling stories, “the public interest in safety and security in this ever more dangerous world is strong as well.”