Immigration Ban Halted By Federal Judge A federal judge has temporarily halted President Trump's executive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. NPR's Scott Horsley has the latest.

Immigration Ban Halted By Federal Judge

Immigration Ban Halted By Federal Judge

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A federal judge has temporarily halted President Trump's executive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. NPR's Scott Horsley has the latest.


The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department say they've stopped enforcing President Trump's executive order on immigration. A federal judge in Washington state put a temporary hold on that order, which barred all refugees as well as travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. In a tweet today, Trump called the judge's ruling ridiculous and vowed it will be overturned. The legal back and forth promises another unpredictable weekend at international airports. NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president in Palm Beach this weekend. Scott, thanks for being with us.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: The court order comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Washington state. What was his argument?

HORSLEY: Washington, joined by Minnesota, argued the president's order issued just over a week ago is unconstitutional, that it violates equal protection and due process guarantees and the prohibition against a government-established religion. Now, Washington saw a temporary restraining order barring the government from enforcing the travel ban. And Judge James Robart, an appointee of George W. Bush, by the way, granted that order. Now, there's a fairly high bar for issuing a restraining order like this. Washington state had to show it would suffer immediate irreparable harm if the travel ban were enforced. And Judge Robart ruled the state met that test.

SIMON: White House issued a statement last night that called the order outrageous. Then it backtracked. What was that byplay like?

HORSLEY: Yeah. The White House press secretary issued two statements last evening after the judge's order came out - the first so the Justice Department would go to court at the earliest possible time to challenge what it called this outrageous order. And then a short time later, we got a revised statement saying pretty much the same thing but dropping the word outrageous. It looked as though somebody in the White House decided insulting the federal judiciary might not be their best course of action. But the president himself is not sharing in that restraint. Trump's Twitter fingers were busy this morning. He referred to Judge Robart as a so-called judge and complained that the opinion would essentially take law enforcement away from the country.

SIMON: What's the practical effect of this order?

HORSLEY: Well, as you say, it's going to be another unpredictable weekend for refugees trying to reach the U.S. and would-be travelers from those seven countries - Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria. The judge's order says for now people with valid visas from those countries can come in. And some international airlines have begun informing would-be travelers of that, but the airlines are also cautioning passengers the rules could change on short notice if the administration prevails in challenging this order.

So the question is, you know, which moves faster, jet airplanes or the federal appeals process? What we do know, Scott, is that there are a lot of people potentially affected by this legal dispute. We have heard conflicting accounts from the State Department and the Department of Justice about just how many, whether the number of affected visa holders is less than 60,000 or somewhere around 100,000. But it is certainly in the tens of thousands of people who are very invested in the outcome of this legal back and forth.

SIMON: Scott, casting back a few months ago to the campaign, this is not the first time that Donald Trump has dusted up - gotten into a dust-up with a federal judge.

HORSLEY: No, that's right. Remember his feud last summer with a judge in San Diego, Gonzalo Curiel, who was hearing the lawsuit over fraud claims against Trump University. After an adverse ruling against him, Trump insisted that judge, who was born in Indiana of Mexican ancestry, was biased against him because of Trump's attacks on Mexican immigrants. Interestingly, Trump's attorneys never made that claim in court though, and Trump eventually settled the case, just after the election, for $25 million.

SIMON: NPR's Scott Horsley, thanks so much.

HORSLEY: You're welcome.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Court Denies DOJ Request For Stay; Trump Immigration Order Remains Suspended

An Airbus A350-900 for Qatar Airways in 2014 in France. Qatar Airways is among the airlines that have announced they will resume boarding travelers affected by President Trump's executive order. Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images

An Airbus A350-900 for Qatar Airways in 2014 in France. Qatar Airways is among the airlines that have announced they will resume boarding travelers affected by President Trump's executive order.

Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4:13 a.m. ET Sunday

President Trump's travel ban remains suspended, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied a Justice Department request to stay the suspension of President Trump's order.

The court asked opponents of the ban to respond to the Trump administration's appeal by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT; the court asked the Justice Department to respond by Monday at 3 p.m. PT.

The denial comes a few hours after the Trump administration filed an emergency motion requesting an "immediate administrative stay" to block the Feb. 3 ruling in Washington state that temporarily suspended Trump's immigration ban.

In a court filing, the Department of Justice argued that the court's nationwide blocking of Trump's order was "vastly overbroad" and should be stayed pending the administration's appeal. It said the court's injunction "second-guesses the President's national security judgment."

Earlier Saturday, the Department of Justice filed a notice to appeal the court ruling.

The notice and request were filed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Feb. 3 ruling by Judge James Robart in Washington state.

The original story continues below

On Friday night, a federal judge in Seattle temporarily halted the enforcement of President Trump's executive order on immigration. By Saturday, federal officials had announced they would be complying with the ruling, and airlines said they would resume boarding travelers covered under the ban.

The Department of Homeland Security "has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order," a department spokeswoman said in a statement. Accordingly, department officials are no longer flagging travelers simply because they are from the seven majority-Muslim countries temporarily barred by Trump's order.

Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson tells NPR that officials with the department are also adhering to the decision. The department has provisionally revoked somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 individuals' visas, according to different accounts; under Saturday's announcement, the State Department says that move has been reversed — and that "individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid."

Those whose visas were cancelled using a physical stamp have to apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

The State Department said it is working closely with DHS and legal teams on complying with Judge James Robart's decision, which suspends the nationwide enforcement of Trump's order while a case brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota is heard in court. That decision also blocks the implementation of the executive order's provisions related to refugee admissions, a State Department spokesperson said. The department is now restarting the paperwork process for refugees to come to the U.S.

Trump, for his part, tweeted a broadside Saturday morning against Judge Robart.

"When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security - big trouble!" Trump tweeted.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump derided Robart as a "so-called judge," whose decision "is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Robart, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, is the federal judge presiding over the U.S. District Court in western Washington state.

In a statement released Friday, the White House also called Robart's stay an "outrageous order." Later, as NPR's Rebecca Hersher noted, the statement was soon changed to remove the word "outrageous."

But the thrust of the message remained the same: The White House said the Justice Department will challenge the judge's decision.

In the meantime, airlines have quickly responded to the court order.

Qatar Airways, which services many of the predominantly Middle Eastern countries barred by Trump, announced that it had been directed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to board nationals with valid documents from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The airline also noted:

"All refugees seeking admission presenting a valid, unexpired U.S. visa or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) card (Green Card) will be permitted to travel to the United States and will be processed accordingly upon arrival."

But Qatar Airways wasn't the only airline to release such an announcement Saturday. Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, announced that on the basis of the federal court ruling it would also permit the affected travelers to fly to the U.S.

"However," Lufthansa was careful to note, "short notice changes to the immigration regulations may occur at any time. The final decision regarding immigration lies with the US authorities."

In Cairo, airport authorities received a notification Saturday from U.S. officials that they should also halt the enforcement of Trump's travel ban. And Reuters reports that Emirates and Etihad Airways said Saturday they would do so, as well.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., multiple media outlets report that CBP spoke with U.S. airlines on a conference call Friday, informing them that after the federal judge's ruling that it was "back to business as usual."

CNN adds: "The government was in the process of reinstating visas, the [airline] executive said, adding that airlines would start removing travel alerts from their websites and getting messages out to customers to notify them of the change."

On Friday, NPR's Rebecca Hersher reported that there have been differing accounts of how many visas, exactly, have been revoked since the executive order:

"The State Department said [Friday] 'roughly 60,000 individuals' visas were provisionally revoked' as a result of Trump's Jan. 27 executive order barring refugees from seven countries.

"That number is considerably lower than the number given by a Justice Department attorney, who said today in federal court in Virginia that 100,000 visas were revoked as a result of the order, as Carmel Delshad of NPR station WAMU reported."

Beyond the case brought by the states of Minnesota and Washington, three other states — Massachusetts, New York and Virginia — have also sued the federal government over Trump's executive order.