Washington – The U.S. has reopened its airports for citizens of the seven Muslim countries included in President Donald Trump’s executive order.
Federal court said that the authorities had reactivated 60 thousand visas and their carrier can now enter the countries until Trump’s decision is reconsidered.
The ban lift occurred after federal judge in Seattle issued a ruling that temporarily blocks Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.
Trump’s executive order, signed Jan. 27, indefinitely blocks entry to the United States for Syrian refugees and temporarily suspends entry to other refugees and citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries.
Since the order, the State Department said it had canceled up to 60,000 visas of people from those nations.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle ruled that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump’s order, which government lawyers disputed, and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.
“The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury,” Robart said. “This TRO (temporary restraining order) is granted on a nationwide basis.”
“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 early on Saturday.
Throughout the day, Trump continued to criticize the decision in tweets. Late Saturday, the president also said: “The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” he tweeted.
A source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the White House didn’t include agencies in the decision making before issuing the order. He added that the seven countries which were not named in the order, saying that it mentioned states that harbor terrorist cells, but this doesn’t mean that all its citizens are terrorists.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer released a statement late Friday saying they “will file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate.” Soon after, the White House sent out a new statement that removed the word “outrageous.”
“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” the statement said.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson earlier this week sued to invalidate key provisions of Trump’s executive order.
“The Constitution prevailed today,” Ferguson said, adding that: “No one is above the law, not even the president.”
Air France said on Saturday it had reopened U.S.-bound flights to passengers affected by the travel ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, after the executive order was temporarily suspended.
“Starting today we are implementing this court decision,” Air France spokesman Herve Erschler said.
“Nationals from the countries concerned are being authorized to fly once again to the United States, providing their papers and visas are in order,” he added.
Erschler said American government representatives in Paris had advised local airlines they could resume services for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Qatar Airways has made a similar decision and had issued an advisory to passengers.
Lufthansa airlines also told its passengers: “Visitors with a passport issued by seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and holding a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa for the U.S. are again allowed to travel to the U.S.A.”