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Homeland Security

US Court Denies Request to Reinstate Travel Ban; Asks for More Arguments Monday

By VOA News February 05, 2017

The U.S. appeals court that rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate a temporary travel ban has given the government and state's challenging the order until Monday to file more arguments.

The early Sunday ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco came after the U.S. Justice Department filed an appeal in response to a federal judge's decision (Friday) to temporarily reverse the executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority nations.

The Justice Department's appeal said the judge's decision "second-guesses the president's national security judgement" and harms the public by "thwarting enforcement" of President Donald Trump's executive order.

Hours after the federal judge blocked the order, the president hurled fresh criticism at the judge, warning that the ruling would allow "many very bad and dangerous people into our country."

Trump's verbal fusillade targeted U.S. Judge James Robart, a 69-year-old jurist in the northwest state of Washington known for his conservative legal views. Robart was appointed to the federal bench in 2004 by former President George W. Bush.

"What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.," Trump tweeted. Earlier Saturday he called Robart's decision "ridiculous," and vowed to have it overturned.

Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump's criticism of the federal judge saying the president expresses himself in a "unique" way and the American people find it refreshing and understand the president's mind.

"The judge's action in this case about making a decision about American foreign policy and national security it's just very frustrating to the president," Pence said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

After Trump's criticism of Robart, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN he thought it was "best not to single out judges for criticism."

"We all want to keep terrorists out of the United States but we can't shut down travel. We certainly don't want our Muslims allies who fought with us in countries overseas to not to be able to travel to the United States. We need to be careful about this," McConnell said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, told NBC Sunday she would be willing to work on legislation to allow for a temporary suspension "as long as we are honoring the constitution."

"We always have to subject our vetting to scrutiny to see if it's working, but doesn't mean we institute an unconstitutional, immoral ban on Muslims coming in to the country," she said.

Customs service responds

Earlier Saturday, in compliance with Robart's decision, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service moved to allow travelers with valid visas to enter the country.

The U.S. State Department later confirmed the latest visa policy and promised to release further information as soon as possible.

"We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas under Executive Order 13769. Those individuals with visas that were not physically canceled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid," the official said. "We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and our legal teams."

Several major airlines, including Air France, British Airways and allied carrier Emirates began allowing passengers from the seven countries banned by the executive order to board planes destined for U.S. territory.

Rula Aoun, director of the Arab American Civil Rights League in Dearborn, Michigan, told the Associated Press on Saturday her group is advising people to hurry to board U.S.-bound flights. "We're telling them to get on the quickest flight ASAP," she said.

Travelers, refugees

But refugees have been left in limbo.

A Somali refugee said about 140 refugees whose resettlement in the United States was blocked by Trump's executive order were sent back to their refugee camp and it was unclear if or when they could travel.

The group had been expected to settle in the U.S. this week, but was sent back to the to Dadaab camp in eastern Kenya on Saturday from the International Organization for Migration transit center in Nairobi where they had been staying.

The president's executive order suspends U.S. entry to all refugees for 120 days and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also blocks people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia from entering the United States for three months, while security procedures are being reviewed.

The State Department said fewer than 60,000 visas have been provisionally canceled as a result of President Trump's executive order banning travel from seven countries.

The number conflicts with one released earlier by Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers, who said more than 100,000 visas were revoked after the people they were issued to were blocked from traveling to the United States.

The State Department said the higher figure included diplomatic and other visas that were exempted from the ban.

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