US Appeals Court refuses to reinstate the Trump travel ban

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
US Appeals Court refuses to reinstate the Trump travel ban

"We will win!"

Donald J. Trump US President

The US Appeals Court has rejected a request to immediately reinstate the Trump travel ban

Nonetheless, Donald Trump is predicting the US Justice Department will win the appeal it has filed against a judge’s order lifting a travel ban he had imposed on citizens of seven mainly-Muslim countries.

The ruling lifting Trump’s temporary ban imposed on refugee admissions was made by District Judge James Robart late on Friday in Seattle.

He questioned the constitutionality of Trump’s order.

The three-judge panel that will decide whether to immediately block Robart’s ruling includes appointees of George W. Bush and two former Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

What Donald Trump says

“We will win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the Florida resort of Palm Beach.

Throughout the day, Trump continued to criticise the decision in tweets.

“The judge showed no signs of backing down. The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” he said on Twitter.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Tweets could “make it tougher”

The US president’s personal attack on District Judge James Robart in Seattle has gone too far for some.

Experts say the president’s tweets criticising the judge’s decision could make it tougher for Justice Department lawyers as they seek to defend his executive order.

“It is hard for the president to demand that courts respect his inherent authority when he is disrespecting the inherent authority of the judiciary. That certainly tends to poison the well for litigation,” said George Washington University Law Professor, Jonathan Turley.

It is unusual for a president to attack a member of the judiciary.

The US Constitution designates it as a check on the power of the executive branch and Congress.

“Rebook your travel immediately”

US immigration advocacy groups have issued a joint statement urging those with valid visas from the seven nations concerned “to consider re-booking travel to the United States immediately”.

The concern is the ruling could be overturned or put on hold.

A US State Department email seen by the Reuters news agency says the department is working to begin admitting refugees, including Syrian nationals, as early as Monday.

The court decision on Friday night sent refugee advocacy and resettlement agencies scrambling to help people already in the system.

On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said it would return to its normal procedures for screening travellers, pending an appeal by the Justice Department.

It is the first move in what could be months of legal challenges to Trump’s push to clamp down on immigration.

The order sparked chaos last week at airports across the US.

Travelers were stranded and thousands gathered in protest.

What the travellers are saying

“I am very happy that we are going to travel today. Finally, we made it,” – Fuad Sharef and his family from Erbil in northern Iraq plan to fly to the US to start a new life.

“I will not say if I have hope or not. I wait, watch and then I build my hopes,” – Josephine Abu Assaleh from Damascus is cautious.

“It’s in God’s hands,” – Iraqi refugee Nizar al-Qassab said while in transit in Lebanon.

What do Americans think of their president’s order?

They are divided.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests 49% are in favour, while 41% are not.

Rights groups, Democrats and US allies have condemned the travel ban as discriminatory.

There were protests in many cities on Saturday.