US & Canada

Trump suffers new travel ban setback

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Media caption"The American people are very accustomed to this president speaking his mind" - Mike Pence

The US federal appeals court has rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate a travel ban blocked by a federal judge on Friday.

The late night ruling means the travel ban will remain suspended until the full case has been heard.

The court gave the White House and the states challenging it a deadline of Monday to present more arguments.

Two states argued that the travel ban, affecting people from seven mainly-Muslim countries, was unconstitutional.

In its appeal, the Justice Department said Judge James Robart had overreached by "second guessing" the president on a national security matter.

It also argued that only the president could decide who can enter or stay in the US.

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In Friday's case, the Justice Department had argued that states did not have the authority to challenge a presidential executive order.

Lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota had argued that the ban was unconstitutional because it denied people with valid entry documents the right to travel without due process.

It also violated freedom of religion rights by appearing to target Muslims, they said.


What happens now - BBC's Anthony Zurcher, Washington

The next step is for briefs to be filed by both sides for a formal review of Judge Robart's suspension on Monday. The Justice Department could have appealed directly to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis, but it chose not to since the appeal court is moving fairly quickly.

If the appeal court decides the stay is valid - perhaps as early as next week - then a Supreme Court appeal is almost certain.

In the meantime, everything is on hold. US immigration processes continue as they did before Mr Trump issued his executive order.

If it looks like this is bogging down, the president might eventually decide to modify the order rather than try to defend its legality. That's probably the most prudent course, but he's a stubborn man.


Iraq, one of the countries named in the ban, has praised the revocation of the travel ban as a "move in the right direction", Reuters reported.

Iran has also responded to Judge Robart's ruling by saying it would allow a US wrestling team to compete in a World Cup event it is hosting later this month.

Image copyright AP
Image caption US wrestlers will now compete in Iran, which has relaxed its own retaliatory ban

The US wrestlers were initially denied visas after Iran said it would ban Americans in retaliation for Mr Trump's order.

However Mr Trump has called Judge Robart's ruling "ridiculous", described him as a "so-called judge" and vowed to restore the ban.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told CNN it was "best to avoid criticising judges individually".

Judge Robart has served on the federal bench since 2004 after nomination by President George W Bush.

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Media caption"We are very excited, we are very happy" - Iraqi national flies to the US with his family

Friday's ruling has also seen visa holders from the affected nations scramble to get flights to the US, fearing they have a slim window to enter.

The State Department has been reversing visa cancellations and US homeland security employees have been told by their department to comply with the ruling.

Customs officials told airlines that they could resume boarding banned travellers. Qatar Airways, Air France, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa and others said they would do so.

The ban caused confusion at US and foreign airports when it came into force.

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Media caption"I have five things to say to you": Immigrant rights campaigner Thanushka Yakupitiyage

It envisages a 90-day visa suspension for anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The directive also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days, and places an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

It has led to protests in US cities and around the world.

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