Friday, 7/8/2020 | 1:10 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Travel ban: How we got here and what is next


President Donald Trump used his preferred platform to criticize the judge who blocked his administration’s travel ban on immigrants. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

Donald Trump ran for president promising to secure the borders and protect the United States from terrorism.

On Jan. 27, one week after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order that banned entry of all refugees for 120 days, halted admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and barred entry for three months to citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Chaos ensued.

Trump’s executive order immediately sparked anger and confusion across the nation. Tens of thousands of visas were revoked. Scores of incoming travelers were held up at U.S. airports, and many more were halted from boarding flights bound for the United States. Protests erupted at airports large and small, at city halls and in town squares across the nation. Challenges to the ban were filed in federal courts in Washington and several other states last week.

Here is a recap of what happened next and where the issue goes from here:


  • After days of legal wrangling, federal Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order that halted the ban nationwide. Robart, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2004, cited “immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.”


  • The State Department said it was restoring more than 50,000 canceled visas. The Department of Homeland Security “suspended all actions” for enforcing the ban and reverted to standard inspection of travelers.
  • International Refugee Assistance Project, echoing other advocacy groups, urged  “all travelers from the seven affected countries to rebook travel to the United States immediately.”
  • The Trump administration appealed Robart’s ruling, citing “judicial second-guessing” that constitutes an “impermissible intrusion” into Trump’s authority over who can enter the country.
  • Trump tweeted his outrage. Among his blasts: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”


  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, declined to reinstate the ban but ordered both sides to file briefs Monday.
  • People with jeopardized travel plans were on the move. Airports in Cairo and Beirut allowed people from the seven affected countries to board U.S.-bound planes. An Iranian researcher who had been stopped in Italy while traveling to Stanford University arrived safely at New York’s Kennedy Airport. “It feels great. Finally I’m here,” he said.


  • Lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota filed papers urging the court not to reinstate the ban, arguing it would “unleash chaos again.”
  • Trump dismissed polls indicating a majority of Americans do not support the ban, tweeting: “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”


  • The appeals court could rule soon, but any ruling is likely to be appealed. Eventually, the Supreme Court could be asked to weigh in.

Contributing: Richard Wolf

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