U.S. judges limit Trump immigration order; some officials ignore rulings

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By Mica Rosenberg and Jonathan Stempel

<span class="articleLocation”>U.S. judges in at least five states blocked
federal authorities from enforcing President Donald Trump’s
executive order restricting immigration from seven
Muslim-majority countries.

However, lawyers representing people covered by the order
said some authorities were unwilling on Sunday to follow the
judges’ rulings.

Judges in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington
state, each home to international airports, issued their rulings
after a similar order was issued on Saturday night by U.S.
District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York’s Brooklyn borough.

Donnelly had ruled in a lawsuit by two men from Iraq being
held at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

While none of the rulings struck down Friday’s executive
order by the new Republican president, the growing number of
them could complicate the administration’s effort to enforce it.

The rulings add to questions about the constitutionality of
the order, said Andrew Pincus, a Mayer Brown partner
representing two Yemeni men who were denied U.S. entry from an
overseas flight despite being legal permanent residents.

“People have gone through processes to obtain legal
permanent resident status, or visas,” Pincus said. “There are
serious questions about whether those rights, which were created
by statute, can be unilaterally taken away without process.”

Trump’s order halted travel by people with passports from
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days,
and stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.

He said these actions were needed “to protect the American
people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to
the United States.”

The order sparked a global backlash, including from U.S.
allies that view the actions as discriminatory and divisive.

Attorneys general from California, New York, 13 other states
and Washington, D.C., meanwhile, in a statement condemned and
pledged to fight what they called Trump’s “dangerous” and “unconstitutional” order.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Sunday said it “will comply with judicial orders,” while enforcing Trump’s
order in a manner that ensures those entering the United States “do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.”


Striking that balance has caused confusion, according to
lawyers who worked overnight and on Sunday to help travelers at
JFK Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport in northern
Virginia, and elsewhere.

Immigration lawyer Sharifa Abbasi said some Border Patrol
agents at Dulles refused to let lawyers talk with detainees,
even after being shown an order from U.S. District Judge Leonie
Brinkema requiring such access.

Abbasi said the agents instead told the lawyers to call
their agency’s office, where no one was answering.

“There is really no method to this madness,” Becca Heller,
director of the New York-based International Refugee Assistance
Project organization, told reporters on a conference call.

Supporters of Trump’s order said authorities acted properly
in swiftly taking steps to enforce it.

“It is better (to) be safe than sorry,” said Jessica
Vaughan, director of policy studies at the conservative Center
for Immigration Studies in Washington.

Lawsuits on behalf of more than 100 individual travelers
have been filed nationwide, activists and lawyers estimated.

Some have come from large corporate firms including Mayer
Brown, Kirkland & Ellis, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.


In Boston, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs on Sunday
temporarily blocked the removal of two Iranians who have taught
at the University of Massachusetts, and had been detained at the
city’s Logan International Airport.

Burroughs’ ruling appeared to go further than Donnelly’s by
barring the detention, as well as the removal, of approved
refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents entering
from the seven countries. Donnelly’s order forbade only removal.

Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil
Liberties Union of Massachusetts, in a statement called
Burroughs’ ruling “a huge victory for justice” in the face of
what he called Trump’s “unconstitutional ban on Muslims.”

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the free
exercise of religion. Trump’s order sought to prioritize
refugees fleeing religious persecution, which the president said
was aimed at helping Christians in Syria.

Burroughs’ ruling also prompted some Trump critics to urge
holders of green cards, which allow foreign nationals to live
and work permanently in the United States, to fly into Boston,
to lessen the risk of detainment.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said several times
on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s order does not affect
green card holders “moving forward” or “going forward.”

In a ruling on Sunday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los
Angeles directed the return to the United States of Ali
Khoshbakhti Vayeghan, who authorities had sent back to his
native Iran following Trump’s order.

The ruling from Brinkema, in Alexandria, Virginia, barred
the Homeland Security agency from removing an estimated 50 to 60
legal permanent residents who had been detained at Dulles.

In Seattle, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly barred the
government from removing two people, who were not named in court
papers. He scheduled a Feb. 3 hearing on whether to lift that
stay. (Additional reporting by Andrew Chung, Dan Levine and Yeganeh

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