A federal judge has put a nationwide block on US President Donald Trump’s week-old executive order temporarily barring refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The temporary restraining order issued by US District Judge James Robart in Seattle on Friday will remain valid nationwide pending a full review of a complaint by Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson.
“The constitution prevailed today,” Ferguson said, describing the judge’s decision as historic. “No one is above the law – not even the president. Not everybody may like this decision – I’m certain the president will not like this decision – but it is his job, it is his responsibility, it is his obligation as president to honour it and I’ll make sure he does.”
Friday’s ruling was not the first to challenge the travel ban, but it was the most sweeping as it effectively vacated the main tenets of the order. Ferguson said the order technically means that anyone with a valid visa must be allowed entry into the country by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The CBP has issued an advisory to airlines, instructing them to board travellers affected by the ban. The US state department is working with the Department of Homeland Security to work out how Friday’s ruling affects its operations, a spokesman told Reuters news agency, and will announce any changes affecting travellers as soon as information is available.
The justice department made no immediate decision on an appeal but said in a statement it would determine its next steps after reviewing the written order. The White House said it would file an appeal as soon as possible.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” the White House said in a statement.