US President Donald Trump has tweeted that he'll overturn a Seattle federal judge's nationwide block on an executive order that's temporarily barred refugees and nationals from seven countries from entering the US.
"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Mr Trump tweeted.
The ruling by Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, nixed Mr Trump's order and ruled that travel restrictions across the country should be lifted immediately, reports news.com.au.
"The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury," Mr Robart said.
The judge said Mr Trump's ban was lifted "on a nationwide basis."
State department reverses Trump's ban
The US State Department said on Saturday that it will allow people with valid visas into the United States, in order to comply with an opinion from a federal judge in Seattle barring President Donald Trump's executive action.
"We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas," the State Department official said in a statement on Saturday. "Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid."
The White House said late on Friday that it believed the ban to be "lawful and appropriate" and that the US Department of Justice would file an emergency appeal.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
Credits: Twitter / @realDonaldTrump
Still, just hours after the ruling, US Customs and Border Protection told airlines they could board travellers who had been affected by the ban.
Mr Trump's January 27 order caused chaos at airports across the US last week as some citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were denied entry.
Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it's death & destruction!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
Virtually all refugees were also barred, upending the lives of thousands of people who had spent years seeking asylum in the US.
On Saturday, Mr Trump also tweeted: "Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it's death & destruction!"
"The Constitution prevailed today," said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who represented the state in a lawsuit against the order. "No one is above the law - not even the president."
US-bound Somalis sent back to refugee camp
About 140 Somali refugees whose resettlement in the United States this week was stopped by President Donald Trump's executive order have been sent back to their refugee camp instead, one of the refugees said Saturday. It was not clear why they were returned a day after a U.S. court order blocked Trump's ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Somalia.
The US Customs and Border Protection swiftly moved to honour all visas invalidated by the ban, opening the doors to travellers around the world on Friday.
The White House quickly struck back, issuing a statement that said the Justice Department would file an emergency stay of this "outrageous" order.
"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.
Statement on WA court ruling: "At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of the order (1/5)— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 4, 2017
Credit: Twitter / @PressSec
Minutes later, the White House issued a second statement that excluded the word "outrageous."
Mr Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at the time the order came down. He was expected to stay there for the weekend and host a Super Bowl party.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) quickly pounced on Mr Trump, hailing the decision after the court ruling was issued.
"This ruling is a victory for the Constitution and for all of us who believe this un-American executive order will not make us safer," Schumer said in a statement.
"President Trump should heed this ruling and he ought to back off and repeal the executive order once and for all."
The decision by Robart set up a legal battle over executive power that could ultimately be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court.
Mr Trump's order, signed last Friday, sparked protests nationwide and confusion at airports as some travellers were detained or sent back to their points of origin.
The White House has argued the order - which barred all refugees for 120 days and non-US citizens travelling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen for 90 days - will make the country safer.
Washington state became the first state to sue over the order. Ferguson, the state attorney general, said the travel ban significantly harms residents and effectively mandates discrimination.
After the ruling, Ferguson said people from the affected countries can now apply for entry to the United States.
The challenge in the Seattle court was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota. The judge ruled that the states have legal standing to sue, which could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration.
Washington's case was based on claims that the state had suffered harm from the ban, citing students and faculty at state-funded universities who were stranded overseas.
Pence: Supreme Court pick will be approved
Vice President Mike Pence is pledging that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be seated on the high court "one way or the other."
Mr Pence's comments during a speech in Philadelphia to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, echoed President Donald Trump's comments from earlier in the week. Mr Trump urged the Senate's Republican leader to scrap longstanding rules and "go nuclear" if Democrats block Judge Gorsuch.
Mr Trump on Tuesday nominated the 49-year-old Gorsuch - a Denver-based U.S. appellate court judge - to a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court. Pence says the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia's death belongs to the American people.
The vice president says he and Trump will work with the Senate to ensure Mr Gorsuch gets an up or down vote.