U.S. judge temporarily blocked Nationwide President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers and immigrants from seven Muslim countries Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen and suspends the U.S. refugee program after Washington state and Minnesota urged a nationwide hold on the executive order that has launched legal battles across the country.
The challenge was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota.
“It’s a wonderful day for the rule of law in this country,” Washington state solicitor-general Noah Purcell said.
The decision came on a day that attorneys from four states were in courts challenging Mr Trump’s executive order.
U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle ruled that the states had standing to challenge Trump’s order, which government lawyers disputed, and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.
“The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury,” Robart said.
The lawsuit says Trump campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. and kept up that rhetoric while defending the travel ban. To support that claim, lawyers pointed to dozens of exhibits of speeches and statements Trump has made.
“The executive order effectively mandates that the states engage in discrimination based on national origin and/or religion, thereby rescinding the states’ historic protection of civil rights and religious freedom,” the complaint said, calling it a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The State Department said 60,000 visas had since been revoked. Mr Trump’s executive order brought in a suspension of refugee admissions for 120 days. Last week’s move by Mr Trump triggered mass protests and has resulted in confusion at US airports.
On Friday the Department of Homeland Security issued additional clarification of the order, stating that there were no plans to extend it beyond the seven countries. The DHS also reiterated that the ban did not apply to permanent residents, or green card holders, and some others, such as those who have helped the U.S. military.