4, February 2017
A US federal judge in Seattle, Washington, has ordered a temporary, nationwide halt to President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban that blocks the entry of citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries. The ruling on Friday by US District Judge James Robart was broader than similar ones before it, and represents the most severe legal blow to Trump’s action, although his administration could still have the policy put back into effect with an appeal.
The ruling prompted government authorities to immediately communicate with airlines and begin taking steps that would allow those previously affected to travel. Trump signed an executive order on January 27 that imposed a temporary travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and placed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. The move also suspended admission of all refugees for 120 days.
Robart’s decision came after Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit to invalidate key provisions of Trump’s executive order.
The judge questioned the Trump administration’s use of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US as a justification for the travel ban. He said no attacks had been carried out on American soil by individuals from the seven countries affected by the ban.
For Trump’s order to be constitutional, Robart said, it had to be “based in fact, as opposed to fiction.” The judge’s ruling was welcomed by groups protesting the immigration order.