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US travel ban: valid visa holders to be allowed entry - government spokeswoman

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By Euronews  with AP, Reuters
US travel ban: valid visa holders to be allowed entry - government spokeswoman

The US Department of Homeland Security has said it will comply with Seattle federal judge James Robart’s temporary nationwide block on a controversial travel ban.

Airlines are resuming US-bound flights for visa holders from the seven, mainly-Muslim countries covered in President Donald Trump’s executive order. A Homeland Security spokeswoman said valid visa holders from those nations will now be allowed entry into the US once more.

“We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas,” said a state department official. “Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel, if the visa is otherwise valid.”

His ruling is not permanent, however Robart said there was a strong chance that a legal challenge against the ban would be successful.

“The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government,” he concluded.

The government is expected to take the case to a higher court.

Trump once again took to Twitter to react to the ruling.

Dozens of lawsuits were filed in objection to his decision to temporarily bar refugees and nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen and to indefinitely suspend the Syrian refugee programme. Robart’s ruling is the first to be applied on a national level.

Put into place a week ago (January 27), the travel ban has been a contentious issue.

Nationwide protests have taken place in the week since Trump signed the executive order.

While the Trump administration has vowed to overturn the court’s decision, the lifting of the ban has also been celebrated.

Estimates on the number of people refused entry into the US vary from under 60,000 to 100,000.