The American Civil Liberties Union announced Saturday evening that a federal court in New York had issued an emergency stay on President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The court’s decision, which will affect people who have been detained in airports, came after the ACLU and other activist groups filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqis who were held at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as a result of the order.
“I hope Trump enjoys losing. He’s going to lose so much we’re going to get sick and tired of his losing,” ACLU national political director Faiz Shakir told Yahoo News shortly after the decision was announced.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the court ruling.
Trump’s executive order, which he signed on Friday afternoon, barred people from Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Somalia from entering the United States for 90 days. It also stopped all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and indefinitely suspended the entry of refugees from Syria. As a result of the order, some people with current visas have already been detained or turned around at airports.
The class action lawsuit sought an immediate injunction barring the Trump administration from blocking immigrants based on the executive order. It argued that the order violates a 1965 law that banned discrimination in immigration based on national origin. According to a copy of the court decision from Judge Ann Donnelly, it will stop officials from removing individuals with approved refugee applications, holders of valid visas and people from the affected countries who have been authorized to enter — pending completion of a hearing on the matter in court. Donnelly also wrote that the lawsuit would have a “strong likelihood of success.”
“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017 executive order,” Donnelly said.
Shakir said the stay will affect those who are “currently detained in airports” and that the ACLU’s lawyers “will continue litigating the rest of the people impacted” by the order.
Trump’s order has led to large protests at airports around the country. Critics charge that it amounts to a “Muslim ban,” while Trump and his team have maintained that the order is not designed to target any specific religion and is merely aimed at terror-prone nations.
Yahoo News asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the order during his briefing on Wednesday. He framed it as a “necessary step” for dealing with people from countries that have “a propensity to do us harm.” During his presidential bid, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S. That proposal subsequently evolved into a vague promise of “extreme vetting.”
Trump touted the executive order while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Saturday. He said the scenes in the airports were evidence of its success.
“It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over,” Trump said, according to a White House press pool report.