DHS halts en­force­ment of en­try ban

AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION FILES A NO­TICE OF AP­PEAL Dis­agree­ment with judge could reach Supreme Court


The De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity com­plied with a judge’s or­ders Satur­day and stopped en­forc­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial en­try ban, and the fast­mov­ing le­gal dis­pute over the pres­i­dent’s pow­ers could land at the na­tion’s high­est court.

On Satur­day evening, Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion lawyers filed a no­tice to ap­peal the Seat­tle fed­eral judge’s de­ci­sion from Fri­day night that im­posed a tem­po­rary, na­tion­wide halt to Trump’s or­der bar­ring refugees and those from seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim na­tions from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

While his ad­min­is­tra­tion fol­lowed the or­ders of U.S. District Judge James L. Ro­bart, the pres­i­dent blasted out his un­hap­pi­ness with an ex­traor­di­nar­ily per­sonal crit­i­cism.

“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 a Satur­day morn­ing tweet. On a week­end trip to Florida, Trump went off to play golf, then re­turned to Twit­ter in the af­ter­noon to say “many very bad and dan­ger­ous peo­ple may be pour­ing into our coun­try” be­cause of the ju­di­cial de­ci­sion.

Trump ex­ag­ger­ated the im­pact of Ro­bart’s or­der, and Democrats charged that the pres­i­dent was try­ing to in­tim­i­date the in­de­pen­dent ju­di­ciary. “The pres­i­dent’s

to­ward the rule of law is not just em­bar­rass­ing, it is dan­ger­ous,” Sen. Pa­trick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a state­ment.

The State De­part­ment said that those with valid visas could en­ter the coun­try. DHS said it would “re­sume in­spec­tion of trav­el­ers in ac­cor­dance with stan­dard pol­icy and pro­ce­dure” that ex­isted be­fore Trump’s more re­stric­tive ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

Ad­vo­cates en­cour­aged trav­el­ers from the af­fected coun­tries who qual­i­fied for en­try to get on planes as soon as pos­si­ble be­cause of the un­pre­dictable le­gal ter­rain.

The de­vel­op­ments con­tin­ued what has been a chaotic roll­out of Trump’s or­der, made on Jan. 27. More than a dozen le­gal chal­lenges have been filed around the coun­try, and only one judge so far has in­di­cated that he was will­ing to let Trump’s or­der stand.

The de­ci­sion of Ro­bart, who was nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and has been on the bench since 2004, was the most con­se­quen­tial be­cause of its na­tional im­pli­ca­tions.

It is some­what un­usual for a district judge to is­sue an or­der that af­fects the en­tire coun­try, but Ro­bart said it was nec­es­sary to fol­low Congress’s in­ten­tion that “the im­mi­gra­tion laws of the United States should be en­forced vig­or­ously and uni­formly.”

He was quot­ing from a 2015 ap­peals court rul­ing that had blocked Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion that would have made it eas­ier for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants in this coun­try to re­main. It was never im­ple­mented be­cause of le­gal chal­lenges.

Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers were pre­par­ing to im­me­di­ately ask the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit to dis­solve Ro­bart’s or­der, but had not filed any­thing as of Satur­day evening. It will go to a panel of judges who con­sider such emer­gency re­quests, and that de­ci­sion could be cru­cial.

While the los­ing side can then re­quest in­ter­ven­tion from the Supreme Court, it would take the votes of five jus­tices to over­turn the panel de­ci­sion. The court has been short­handed since the death of Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia nearly a year ago, and ide­o­log­i­cally di­vided be­tween four lib­eral and four con­ser­va­tive mem­bers.

The is­sue could reach the high court in days — or weeks.

Ro­bart granted a re­quest from at­tor­neys for the states of Wash­ing­ton and Min­nesota who had him to stop the gov­ern­ment from act­ing on crit­i­cal sec­tions of Trump’s or­der. Jus­tice and State de­part­ment of­fi­cials had re­vealed ear­lier Fri­day that about 60,000 — and pos­si­bly as many as 100,000 — visas al­ready have been pro­vi­sion­ally re­voked as a re­sult of Trump’s or­der.

A U.S. of­fi­cial who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity said that be­cause of the court case, of­fi­cials would ex­am­ine the re­vok­ing of those visas so that peo­ple would be al­lowed to travel.

Ro­bart’s or­der also en­joined the gov­ern­ment from en­forc­ing a sec­tion of the ex­ec­u­tive or­der that bars the en­try of Syr­ian refugees.

The State De­part­ment said it is still work­ing with other gov­ern­ment agen­cies and the or­ga­ni­za­tions that process refugees over­seas to com­ply with the judge’s or­der. That means the ac­tion may not im­me­di­ately help those seek­ing ap­proval. Im­mi­gra­tion lawyers said the State De­part­ment had in­formed them they should re­book trips for refugees whose plans were can­celed af­ter the ex­ec­u­tive or­der, which tem­po­rar- ily halted the refugee re­set­tle­ment pro­gram.

On Tues­day, the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity said it would al­low 872 refugees into the coun­try who were “al­ready in tran­sit” and would face “un­due hard­ship” if de­nied ad­mis­sion.

“This rul­ing is an­other stin­gasked ing re­jec­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump’s un­con­sti­tu­tional Mus­lim ban,” said Omar Jad­wat, di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union’s Im­mi­grants’ Rights Project. “We will keep fight­ing to per­ma­nently dis­man­tle this un-Amer­i­can ex­ec­u­tive or­der.”

Trump’s crit­i­cism of Ro­bart re­minded some of his re­marks dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign about the im­par­tial­ity of a Cal­i­for­nia fed­eral judge who was hear­ing a class-ac­tion law­suit in­volv­ing Trump Univer­sity.

Oth­ers counted that Obama had also been crit­i­cal of ju­di­cial de­ci­sions he did not like — scold­ing the Supreme Court dur­ing a State of the Union ad­dress for its de­ci­sion in Cit­i­zens United v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, and say­ing dur­ing the le­gal bat­tle over the Af­ford­able Care Act that it would be “un­prece­dented” to strike it down.

But Trump’s de­nun­ci­a­tion of Ro­bart was more per­sonal and di­rect. Vice Pres­i­dent Pence de­fended the pres­i­dent’s words in an in­ter­view with Ge­orge Stephanopou­los that will air on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I think the Amer­i­can peo­ple are very ac­cus­tomed to this pres­i­dent speak­ing his mind and speak­ing very straight with them,” Pence said.

He agreed with Stephanopou­los that Ro­bart had the author­ity for his rul­ing, and said “we’ll go through the process in the courts to get a stay of that or­der, so that, again, we can im­ple­ment this ac­tion that is en­tirely fo­cused on the safety and se­cu­rity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

Other Repub­li­can lead­ers were mute, on both the de­ci­sion and Trump’s lan­guage, and some in the GOP were un­set­tled by it.

“My ad­vice to POTUS — at­tack the de­ci­sion (it’s weak) not the judge,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho), who had backed Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion or­der, wrote on Twit­ter. “Lib­er­als are im­plod­ing, don’t make per­sonal at­tacks the story.”

Democrats were not shy. “The pres­i­dent’s at­tack . . . shows a dis­dain for an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­ciary that doesn’t al­ways bend to his wishes and a con­tin­ued lack of re­spect for the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a state­ment.

Leahy said Trump “seems in­tent on pre­cip­i­tat­ing a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis.”

The le­gal bat­tles over Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion or­der have be­come the mir­ror im­age of Obama’s at­tempt to shield il­le­gal im­mi­grants af­ter Congress failed to pass com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form.

Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion would have de­ferred de­por­ta­tion for mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants who had been in the coun­try since 2010, had not com­mit­ted any se­ri­ous crimes and had fam­ily ties to U.S. cit­i­zens or oth­ers law­fully in the coun­try.

In that case, Repub­li­can state at­tor­neys gen­eral led the fight against the or­der. A district judge in Texas agreed with them that it prob­a­bly ex­ceeded the pres­i­dent’s pow­ers, and is­sued a na­tion­wide in­junc­tion. Months later, the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 5th Cir­cuit agreed; months af­ter that, the Supreme Court took up the is­sue.

But the court dead­locked, mean­ing that the lower court rul­ing stood and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion suf­fered one of its most con­se­quen­tial le­gal de­feats.

The play­ers have changed sides now, with Demo­cratic at­tor­neys gen­eral and im­mi­grant rights groups lead­ing the fight against Trump and cel­e­brat­ing a district judge’s im­po­si­tion of a na­tion­wide or­der.


Peo­ple gather in front of the Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel in Wash­ing­ton on Satur­day for the “Peace for Iran” rally. Thou­sands in Lafayette Square protested Pres­i­dent Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der ban­ning en­try into the coun­try by those from seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim na­tions.


Thomas Pear­son, 20, of Min­nesota’s St. Olaf Col­lege Choir, at­tends a can­dle­light vigil Satur­day at the Lin­coln Memo­rial.

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