Fear and confusion still abound at foreign airports after Trump’s travel ban halted

UPDATE 2 — 2/5, 12:00 p.m. EST: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request by the Justice Dept. to issue an emergency stay for a Washington state district court judge’s restraining order on President Trump’s travel ban directive. 

The San Francisco-based appeals court will consider a permanent stay of the Washington judge’s order on Monday.

 

UPDATE — 4:51 p.m. EST: Both the State Dept. and Homeland Security said Saturday they will adhere to a district court judge’s decision Friday to suspend President Trump’s travel ban order.

A State official indicated all valid visas will be honored and a DHS spokeswoman said the department will stop targeting individuals from countries named in the executive order.

 

A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order Friday against President Trump’s travel ban directive which effects the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The lawsuit was brought earlier this week by the states of Washington and Minnesota whose attorneys general contend the ban, spelled out in the “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” executive order, is unconstitutional.

A White House statement by Press Secretary Sean Spicer released late Friday vowed to appeal the ruling and seek an emergency stay of the order.  Spicer concluded by arguing that the president “has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he expects the case will eventually be heard by the Supreme Court following a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling.

The decision to grant the legal request was made by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, appointed in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush. Attorneys general argued that the travel ban harms the economies and educational systems of their respective states.

Washington-state based corporations Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia all publicly supported the lawsuit.

Effects of the order were felt almost immediately, as a DHS internal directive ordered employees to comply with the ruling and U.S. Customs and Border Protection told commercial airliners in a Friday night conference call that it was now “back to business as usual”.

Middle Eastern and European-based airline companies also announced that they would resume allowing citizens from the seven countries named in Trump’s order to fly to the U.S.

Confusion prevailed however at overseas airports however, as both travelers and airliners feared retribution for defying the Trump administration’s immigration objectives.

A 31-year-old female scholar from Sudan told Reuters that the “international airlines are refusing to me a ticket to travel for fear of contradicting the president’s decision.”

“Now I am going from one airline company to another to convince them about the court’s decision,” she said.

According to the U.S. State Department, approximately 60,000 visas have been canceled due to the executive order.  In fiscal-year 2015, the federal government issued over 11 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

To-date, more than 50 lawsuits have been filed against Trump’s travel ban order, with most judicial rulings effectively preventing individual deportation.

 

[The Hill] [AP] [Reuters] [Politico] [Photo courtesy G. Morty Ortega/Getty Images via The Independent]