Trump Slams ‘So-Called’ Judge on Travel as State Lifts Visa Ban

Updated on
  • White House says it will file an emergency appeal of ruling
  • Schumer says Trump has ‘disdain’ for independent judiciary

Demonstrators hold signs and chant in Boston’s Copley Square protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations on Jan. 29, 2017.

Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump slammed the federal judge who temporarily ended U.S. immigration restrictions made in his executive order a week ago, vowing that the decision in a case involving Washington and Minnesota will be reversed.

The State Department will allow individuals with valid visas to travel to the U.S. and the Department of Homeland Security has reverted to procedures in place before the Jan. 27 White House order, after U.S. District Judge James Robart’s ruling lifted the ban on all refugees and on visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Also, the State Department has reversed the provisional revocation of about 60,000 visas made under Trump’s executive order.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump said in an early-Saturday tweet to his 23.6 million followers.

The comment drew a sharp response from Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, who said in a statement that Trump “shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution.”

In his ruling, Robart said the states of Washington and Minnesota, which brought the case, can sue on the grounds that their economies and residents would be harmed by the ban announced a week ago.

‘Big Trouble!’

“When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security -- big trouble!” Trump tweeted.

The ruling eclipsed a Trump administration win earlier on Friday, when a federal judge in Boston refused to extend a temporary ruling blocking enforcement at that city’s airport of the ban on immigrants from seven countries. Robart, in Seattle, said in his ruling that voiding the president’s order throughout the U.S. was needed for consistency.

Supporting his reasoning that a ruling on immigration policy should apply nationwide, Robart cited a decision by a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, who blocked former President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing more than 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.

The State Department has reversed the provisional revocation of visas and individuals with visas that were not physically canceled may now travel if their paperwork is otherwise valid, a spokesman said. It’s unclear what will happen to holders of visas that were physically canceled over the past week.

Airlines Notified

DHS suspended “any and all actions implementing the affected sections” of Trump’s executive order, a department official said. “DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.”

U.S. airlines were informed of the reversal, Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for the trade group Airlines for America, said in an e-mailed statement. Earlier on Saturday, Qatar Airways and the United Arab Emirates carrier Etihad Airways said in statements they will permit citizens from the seven nations and all refugees with valid visas to board its flights for the U.S.

Trump signs executive orders on Jan. 27.

Photographer: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The White House said in a statement that the Justice Department would file an emergency request at the earliest possible time to freeze the judge’s ruling.

“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” according to the statement. After initially calling the judge’s decision “outrageous,” the White House issued a revised statement removing the word.

The ruling is the most comprehensive legal admonishment of Trump’s executive order prohibiting immigrants, students, temporary workers and others from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya from entering the U.S. for 90 days. Judges in Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles and Alexandria, Virginia, have issued orders that are less sweeping. The Seattle judge also temporarily set aside Trump’s 120-day ban on refugees from those countries.

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The decision by Robart, a 2004 appointee of Republican President George W. Bush whose nomination was approved in a 99-0 Senate vote, carries unique significance because the states were able to link Trump’s edict to its adverse economic impact, said Geoffrey Hoffman, Director, University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic. The order’s effect on jobs and economic stability is likely to make the temporary ruling difficult for the president to overturn before the judge considers a permanent injunction, he said.

“The Washington suit is so much more broad than anything else we’ve seen because it goes into the economic interests of the parties -- that’s a very big development,” Hoffman said of a likely appeal by the federal government. “Appeals of temporary orders occur only in very, very extraordinary measures. I doubt it would be successful.”

Economic Consequences

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the effects on his state included economic consequences for employers based there, including Microsoft Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia Inc. had about 1,000 customers with flight reservations in or out of the U.S. from the seven countries, he said.

Minnesota, like Washington, cited the effect of the ban on students at its colleges and universities, as well as health care centers including the Mayo Clinic. The state’s 5.4 million residents included 30,000 immigrants from the affected countries, it said in the lawsuit. Minnesota has the largest population of Somalis in the U.S.

The court order, effective immediately, will remain in place until the judge considers a motion -- probably within a month -- to permanently invalidate the president’s order, Ferguson said.

“It is not the loudest voice that prevails on the Constitution,” Ferguson said outside the courthouse. “We are a nation of laws; not even the president can violate the Constitution.”

Robart rejected a request by the federal government to put his temporary restraining order on hold. He said he expects the Justice Department to file an appeal as early as Monday.

President’s Authority

U.S. Justice Department lawyer Michelle Bennett, arguing at Friday’s hearing, said the president was acting within the authority granted him by Congress and there was no financial harm to the states.

Trump’s policy, signed without advance notice, threw airports across America into turmoil last weekend as travelers from the affected countries who were already en route to the U.S. learned upon landing that they couldn’t leave the airport. Some of those people were lawful U.S. residents holding green cards and work visas. Some travelers were required to return to their points of origin, generating spontaneous protests at international terminals. Others were detained.

Trump Tweet

Trump has argued his executive order was needed to protect Americans from terrorists. He tweeted before the judge’s decision, after referring to an attack by a knife-wielding man at the Louvre museum in Paris on Friday, “We must keep evil out of our country!”

David Miliband, president and chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee, said Robart’s ruling demonstrated that Trump’s executive order wasn’t adequately thought out.

“There is every right for the administration to review and build on existing arrangements,” Miliband said in an e-mailed statement from the refugee assistance group. “There is no excuse for tearing up carefully developed procedures that have kept America safe.”

The case is State of Washington v. Trump, 17-cv-00141, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle). The Boston case is Loughghalam v. Trump, 17-cv-10154, U.S. District Court, Massachusetts (Boston).

— With assistance by Janelle Lawrence, Michael B Marois, Bob Van Voris, Andrew M Harris, Erik Larson, Michael Riley, and Chris Strohm

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