A federal judge from New York has granted an emergency stay on Saturday night barring the deportation of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, which was put into effect by Donald Trump’s executive order preventing citizens from those countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, an Obama appointee, wrote.
“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 said.
A Judge has temporarily blocked Donald Trump's US refugee ban https://t.co/kHKfFXTYac
— BBC Radio Merseyside (@bbcmerseyside) January 29, 2017
On top of barring citizens from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days, President Trump’s executive order also blocks Syrian refugees from entering the country for an indefinite amount of time and stops the admission of all refugees for four months.
Since Trump signed the executive order, a total of 109 travelers heading to the U.S. have been denied entry, according to a Department of Homeland Security representative. The agency, however, refused to reveal how many were detained and how many were sent back home.
The ACLU filed a petition on Saturday evening in a federal court in New York asking for a nationwide stay that would bar the deportation of visitors detained in U.S. airports.
The group filed the complaint on behalf of the people detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday and Saturday, including two Iraqi men — Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi — who have been granted visas on account of their ties with the U.S. military.
Court papers indicate that both Iraqi men were legally allowed to enter the U.S. but were detained at the airport on account of Donald Trump’s executive order.
Darweesh, an interpreter for the U.S. during the Iraq war, was released from detention on Saturday. Alshawi was released on Saturday night, according to his lawyer Mark Doss.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ Rights Project, also issued a statement following the implementation of the ruling.
“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”
“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said.
“Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”
Donald Trump’s administration suffered another blow when Judge Leonie Brinkema of Virginia issued another stay just within an hour after the first ruling, blocking the deportation of green card holders who were being detained at Dulles Airport. The ruling also states that those who were being detained under Trump’s executive order will be granted access to lawyers.
The concerted efforts by the judicial branch to bar the newly-elected U.S. president’s executive order are indicative of how checks and balances work in maintaining the integrity and stability of a country’s democratic institutions.
Lawyers take on Donald Trump's Muslim ban. https://t.co/UzkcAIwY6e
— Père Pascal SEVEZ sj (@PSEVEZsj) January 29, 2017
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered at the JFK international airport to express their disapproval of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. Outside the airport’s terminals, demonstrators can be heard chanting, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!” and, “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!” as reported by the Jewish Press. Government officials and security personnel are having difficulties determining which Muslims have legal access to the country and those who do not.
U.S. representatives Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velasquez, who drove to the JFK International airport to demand that the refugees detained under Donald Trump’s executive order be released, issued a joint statement.
“Today, we saw in real human terms the damage and the absurdity of Trump’s policies. The president’s executive order is mean-spirited, ill-conceived, and ill-advised. The order almost banned a man from entering the country who has worked for the United States government for 10 years, who risked his life to help us and to help our troops, and who loves our country. […] This should not happen in America.”
[Featured Images by Yana Paskova/Getty Images]