Politics

Appeals Court Defies Trump, Upholds Freeze on Travel Ban

9th Circuit rules in favor of lower court decision blocking president's immigration action

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order freezing the refugee resettlement program and temporarily halting all travel from seven terrorism-compromised countries.

The ruling of the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals leaves in place the sweeping restraining order issued last week by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle. The government likely will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At least for now, the country must operate like it did before Trump issued his executive order last month. People with visas can come and go and the federal government cannot block refugees who have been approved for relocation.

“The Government has not shown that the Executive Order provides what due process requires, such as notice and a hearing prior to restricting an individual’s ability to travel,” the opinion states.

Trump responded quickly to the decision via Twitter. “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Trump tweeted just minutes after the decision was released.

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The president cast the high-profile dispute in stark national security terms. On Wednesday, he told the National Sheriff’s Association that “we are at risk” because his order had been held up. He quoted from the 1952 statute that he said gives him authority to bar foreigners he deems a threat, telling the sheriffs that a “bad high school student” could understand it.

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But the states of Washington and Minnesota, which challenged the executive order, threw up several statutory and constitutional objections. They argued it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims and also violated the Equal Protection Clause. They maintained that the temporary ban would disrupt commerce and hurt their tax base, in addition to harming their public universities by restricting travel of students and professors.

Trump had sharply criticized Robart, calling him a “so-called” judge. Trump argued that he had acted within his authority to keep America safe.

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