UNITED States President, Donald Trump, denounced a judge who lifted the travel ban he had imposed on citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, vowing that his government would reinstate it as affected travelers scrambled to try to quickly enter the United States.
Last weekend thousands of people who had tickets to travel or immigrate to the United States were stopped in their tracks by Trump’s executive order to restrict entry for refugees and for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, a move he said was needed to prevent attacks.
But a federal judge in Seattle on Friday temporarily blocked Trump’s order, allowing travel to resume. The Justice Department is expected to quickly argue in court to reverse that decision. In the meantime, people with valid visas were trying to book flights.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump said on Twitter. It is unusual for a president to attack a member of the judiciary, which is an independent arm of the U.S. government.
The court ruling was the first move in what could be months of legal challenges to Trump’s push to clamp down on immigration. His order set off chaos at airports across the United States last week where travelers were stranded and thousands of people gathered to protest.
Americans are sharply divided over Trump’s order. A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week showed 49 percent said they favored it while 41 percent did not.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
The Washington state lawsuit is the first to test the broad constitutionality of Trump’s travel ban, which has been condemned by rights groups that consider it discriminatory.
The State Department said almost 60,000 visas had been suspended because of Trump’s ban.