Immigrant Travel Ban Remains Blocked Following Appeals Court Ruling
On Thursday night, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declined to reinstate the travel ban instituted two weeks ago by President Donald Trump's executive order.
The suit and original motion for a stay of the executive order were brought against the Trump Administration by the Attorneys General of the states of Washington and Minnesota, who argued that the executive order was unconstitutional and violated federal law. The Federal District Court granted a preliminary ruling in favor of the states on February 7, which the Trump Administration appealed.
In its 29-page order, the Ninth Circuit ruled that "the States have offered ample evidence that if the Executive Order were reinstated even temporarily, it would substantially injure the States and multiple other parties interested in the proceeding.” It also noted that "the Government has not demonstrated that the States lack viable claims based on the due process rights of persons who will suffer injuries to protected interests due to the Executive Order."
The ruling is not surprising, as two of the three judges on the appellate panel seemed skeptical of the Department of Justice's position during oral arguments. However, the fact that the court ruled unanimously was slightly unexpected.
The executive order, originally signed by President Trump on January 27, closed the border to refugees from Syria indefinitely and to refugees from all other countries for 120 days. It also severely limited immigration from seven countries — Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — for 90 days. Originally the travel ban also covered permanent green card holders, but that restriction was later reversed by the Administration.
Other federal judges have also issued stays affecting portions of the President's order, but the ruling that was appealed to the Ninth Circuit was issued by Judge James Robart of Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington (based in Seattle) and ordered a nationwide halt to enforcement of the entire ban. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Homeland Security suspended enforcement of the President's order and the State Department reversed the cancellation of any visas that had been affected.
The Department of Justice says it is reviewing the Ninth Circuit's ruling. It has the option to appeal to the Ninth Circuit en banc or ask the US Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit's ruling.