Sunday 30 April 2017

President: judge who blocked travel ban has put country 'in peril'

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

David Lawler

Donald Trump declared last night that the judge who blocked his immigration ban would be responsible if America was attacked.

Mr Trump said Judge James Robart had placed America in "peril", by allowing citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations that had been barred from entering the US to come "pouring in" to the country.

Earlier, Mr Trump's administration said it would use "every legal means" to reinstate his executive order on refugees and immigration, but will comply with the judge's order blocking the ban as the legal battle continues.

An appeals court in San Francisco yesterday rejected the justice department's request for an emergency stay of Judge Robart's order that the ban be suspended nationwide.

Hours earlier Mr Trump had expressed confidence that the stay would be granted. "We'll win," the president said at a gala at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. "For the safety of the country, we'll win."

After the request was denied, the president and his allies began preparing for a legal fight that is likely to end at the US Supreme Court.

Mike Pence, the vice-president, defended the ban and the president in series of interviews yesterday.

Read more: All you need to know about the 'so-called judge' who blocked Donald Trump's travel ban

"We're going to continue to use all legal means at our disposal to stay that order and move forward to take the steps necessary to protect our country," Mr Pence told Fox News.

Mr Pence also said he did not believe Mr Trump's attacks on Judge Robart as a "so-called judge" who issued a "ridiculous" ruling were a threat to the constitutional separation of powers.

But while the president had seemed to question Judge Robart's authority, Mr Pence said there was no doubt the judge had the power to block the ban.

"He certainly does, and that's why the administration is complying with that order as we speak," he said.

Washington and Minnesota, the two states whose lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ban led to Judge Robart's order, were expected to make further filings yesterday, while the Trump administration will make its case in briefs to be filed today.

With the ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in legal limbo, once-barred travellers continued to arrive in the US yesterday.

It took two years for Fuad Sharef, an Iraqi who worked as a contractor for Usaid, the American government's foreign aid organisation, to obtain visas for himself, his wife and their three children.

The family planned to fly to the US last week, but were prevented from boarding.

They took their opportunity after the order was blocked, and landed in Nashville yesterday. Local activists gathered at the airport to greet them.

"Yeah, my life changed dramatically. You know, ups and downs, and I learned a lesson, that if you have a right, never surrender," Mr Sharef said.

Homeland security officials had struggled to implement Mr Trump's ban after its sudden introduction on January 27.

Irish Independent

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