Seattle judge blocks Trump immigration order

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By Dan Levine and Scott Malone | SEATTLE/BOSTON

SEATTLE/BOSTON A federal judge in Seattle on
Friday put a nationwide block on U.S. President Donald Trump’s
week-old executive order barring nationals from seven countries
from entering the United States.

The judge’s temporary restraining order represents a major
challenge to Trump’s action, although his administration could
still appeal the ruling and have the policy upheld.

The Seattle judge, James Robart, made his ruling effective
immediately on Friday, suggesting that travel restrictions could
be lifted straight away.

“It’s a wonderful day for the rule of law in this country,”
said Washington state solicitor general Noah Purcell.

The state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said: “This
decision shuts down the executive order right now.” He said he
expected the federal government to honor the ruling.

The new Republican president’s order signed on Jan. 27
triggered chaos at U.S. airports last weekend. Some travelers
abroad were turned back from flights into the United States,
crowds of hundreds of people packed into arrival areas to
protest and legal objections were filed across the country.

The challenge was brought by the state of Washington and
later joined by the state of Minnesota. The Seattle judge ruled
that the states have legal standing to sue, which could help
Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues
beyond immigration.

The decision came on a day that attorneys from four states
were in courts challenging Trump’s executive order. The Trump
administration justified the action on national security
grounds, but opponents labeled it an unconstitutional order
targeting people based on religious beliefs.

Earlier on Friday, a federal judge in Boston declined to
extend a temporary restraining order that allowed some
immigrants into the United States from countries affected by
Trump’s three-month ban.

Also on Friday in Virginia, a federal judge ordered the
White House to provide a list of all people stopped from
entering the United States by the travel ban.

The State Department said on Friday that fewer than 60,000
visas previously issued to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen had been invalidated as a result
of the order. That disclosure followed media reports that
government lawyers were citing a figure of 100,000.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia
ordered the federal government to give the state a list by
Thursday of “all persons who have been denied entry to or
removed from the United States.”

The state of Hawaii on Friday joined the challenge to the
order, filing a lawsuit alleging that the order is
unconstitutional and asking the court to block the order across
the country.

The order also temporarily stopped the entry of all refugees
into the country and indefinitely halted the settlement of
Syrian refugees.

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.

In the Boston case, U.S. District Judge Nathan Gorton denied
the request, after expressing skepticism during oral arguments
about a civil rights group’s claim that Trump’s order
represented religious discrimination. (Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York, Brian
Snyder in Boston and Lawrence Hurley, Lesley Wroughton and Susan
Heavey in Washington)

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