Homeland Security Suspends Immigration Ban as Trump Blasts Judge's Order

Homeland Security personnel keep watch as travelers depart at Lindbergh Field airport in San Diego. Reuters

President Donald Trump attacked a federal judge's ruling Saturday that temporarily blocks his immigration and refugee travel ban, which will go unenforced nationwide as the Department of Homeland Security complies with the judicial order.

Trump sent multiple tweets decrying the opinion of the "so-called judge," U.S. District Judge James Robart, who ruled Friday that Trump's executive order blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days, suspending all Syrian refugee admissions and halting the refugee program for 120 days must be lifted because it poses an "immediate and irreparable injury" upon the states which brought the suit before Robart, Minnesota and Washington.

Trump, who has cast the controversial order as a national security directive, tweeted, "When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security - big trouble!" He also said, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!," as the administration vows an appeal.

The U.S. State Department confirmed Saturday that anyone with a valid visa will be allowed entry into the United States, as "those individuals with visas that were not physically canceled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid." State had said Friday that up to 60,000 visas were canceled since Trump issued the order, although it's unclear how many among them were physically destroyed. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed in a statement Saturday that it has "has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.' This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order." Additionally, U.S. airlines were informed Friday night by Customs and Border Protection that they should board travelers as they had before Trump issued his executive order.

Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the executive order harms the states' "residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations and freedom to travel...These harms are significant and ongoing." He wrote that the states "have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order," while explicitly rejecting the government's national security argument. He questioned the use of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as a justification for the ban, pointing out that no attacks have occurred in the U.S. by individuals from any of the seven targeted countries. Robart wrote that Trump's order has to be "based in fact, as opposed to fiction," in order to be constitutional.

The White House vowed to fight the ruling.

"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of the order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate," according to a statement from White House press secretary Sean Spicer. "The president's order is intended to protect the country and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people. As the law states, 'Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on entry of aliens any restrictions may deem to be appropriate.'"

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump's response should be considered when the Senate takes up the president's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

"The President's attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution, making it more important that the Supreme Court serve as an independent check on the administration," Schumer said in a statement, according to CNN. "With each action testing the Constitution, and each personal attack on a judge, President Trump raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court. His ability to be an independent check will be front and center throughout the confirmation process."