NEW YORK, Jan 29 (APP): A federal judge granted an emergency
stay Saturday night for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries
who have already arrived in the United States and those who are in
transit, and who hold valid visas, ruling they cannot be removed
from the US.
The ruling halts President Donald Trump’s executive order
barring citizens from those countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan,
Libya, Somalia and Yemen — from entering the US for the next
“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in
establishing that the removal of the petitioner and other
similarly situated violates their due process and equal
protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,”
US District Judge Ann Donnelly wrote in her decision.
“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of
removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury
to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations
subject to the January 27, 2017, Executive Order,” the ruling
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued Saturday
evening in a federal court in New York for a nationwide stay
that would block the deportation of all people stranded in
US airports under what the group called “President Trump’s new
The civil rights group is representing dozens of travelers
held at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday and Saturday,
including two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been
granted visas to enter the United States.
But the stay does not strike down the full executive order,
meaning that the people who are currently abroad still cannot
come into the United States. What it does is “preserve the status
quo” for people who came to the US in the immediate aftermath of
the executive order, after having been granted visas allowing
them to legally come to the US (before the order was signed).
However, it prevents the hundreds of people detained at
airports Friday and Saturday from being deported, while the
court system susses out whether Trump’s executive order was
in fact legal.
Judge Donnelly ordered that the federal government was
restrained nationwide from “in any manner or any means
removing” people with previously approved refugee applications,
holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other
individuals from the seven countries.
Several reporters and activists were tweeting from the
hearing, and according to their accounts, Judge Donnelly –
who was nominated by former President Barack Obama and
confirmed to her judgeship in 2015 – seemed unimpressed
by the new government’s arguments against granting a
stay, according to media reports.
Judge Donnelly also told the federal government to
provide a list of everyone who’s been detained.
But it seemed clear that this is a temporary measure
halting part of Trump’s order, rather than a judicial
finding that the order is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the bulk of the sweeping immigration order
remains in effect for people who aren’t already in transit
to the US or on American soil.
The refugee admissions programme won’t be approving new
refugees for at least four months, and new Syrian refugee
approvals are blocked indefinitely.
Lawful permanent residents of the US (like green card
holders) from those seven countries and pre-approved refugees
who are currently abroad do not have ‘permission’ to come back
to the US.
The various other changes Trump made to immigration policy,
such as cutting the yearly refugee target in half and favouring
‘religious minorities’ for those spots, are also untouched.
(Later Saturday, a second judge ruled that lawyers should
have ‘access to all legal permanent residents’ being detained
at the airport.)