Seattle federal judge on Friday put a nationwide block on U.S. President Donald Trump’s week-old executive order that had temporarily barred refugees and nationals from seven countries from entering the United States.
The judge’s temporary restraining order represents a major setback for Trump’s action, though the White House said late Friday that it believed the ban to be “lawful and appropriate” and that the U.S. Department of Justice would file an emergency appeal.
Still, just hours after the ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection told airlines they could board travelers who had been affected by the ban.
Trump’s Jan. 27 order caused chaos at airports across the United States last week as some citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were denied entry. Virtually all refugees were also barred, upending the lives of thousands of people who had spent years seeking asylum in the U.S.
The State Department said Friday that almost 60,000 visas were suspended in the wake of Trump’s order; it was not clear Friday night whether that suspension was automatically revoked or what travelers with such visas might confront at U.S. airports.
While a number of lawsuits have been filed over Trump’s action, the Washington state lawsuit was the first to test the broad constitutionality of the executive order. Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, explicitly made his ruling apply across the country, while other judges facing similar cases have so far issued orders concerning only specific individuals.