The government has suspended enforcement of US President Donald Trump’s refugee and immigration ban and filed notice it would appeal a judge’s order, plunging the new administration into a crisis that has challenged Trump’s authority—and ability to fulfil campaign promises.
The stand-down, a day after a federal judge in Washington state temporarily blocked the ban, marked an extraordinary setback for the White House.
Only a week ago, the president had acted to suspend America’s refugee program and halt immigration to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries that the government said raise terrorism concerns.
As the White House worked to reinstate the ban, Trump mocked US District Judge James Robart, appointed by President George W Bush, as a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” ruling “will be overturned.”
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He added in a subsequent tweet: “Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision.”
Trump’s direct attack recalled his diatribes during the campaign against a federal judge of Mexican heritage who was overseeing a Trump University case.
Justice Department lawyers could be called upon to answer for his words as the travel ban case reaches the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The order had caused unending confusion for many foreigners trying to reach the United States, prompted protests across the United States and led to multiple court challenges.