Homeland Security Halts Enforcement of Immigrant Travel Ban Following Judge’s Order

Feb 4, 2017

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Last night, a federal judge in Seattle issued an order temporarily blocking the travel ban instituted last Friday by President Donald Trump. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security has stopped enforcement of the President’s executive order and is instructing airlines to allow travelers with proper documentation to board planes heading for the United States.

In addition, the State Department has reversed the cancellation of visas that had previously been issued to nationals of the seven countries covered by the order.

The President’s original executive order banned all refugees from Syria from entering the US indefinitely and closed the border to refugees from all other countries for 120 days. It also halted immigrants from seven countries — Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — from entering the US for 90 days.

While it originally appeared that green card holders were also covered by the travel ban, the order was later clarified to allow those permanent residents to enter, albeit with the potential to be subject to additional security screenings.

The judicial order issued by Judge James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle is temporary, meaning it remains in place only until a full argument can be heard from both sides in court. Meanwhile, the US Customs and Border Protection agency has informed airlines that it is “back to business as usual.” As such, revised travel advisories have begun appearing on airline websites, such as this one from Lufthansa, which states

“The United States federal court has blocked the travel ban to the USA with immediate effect. Visitors with a passport issued by 7 countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and holding a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa for the US are again allowed to travel to the USA. However, short notice changes to the immigration regulations may occur at any time. The final decision regarding immigration lies with the US authorities.”

The White House has already announced its intent to file an emergency appeal of the judge’s order which, if successful, could allow the travel ban to be reimplemented.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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