WASHINGTON — The White House called Friday night's court order temporarily halting President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration "outrageous," saying the Justice Department will file an emergency request to stop it.
The White House immediately released another statement that had the same wording but removed the word "outrageous."
"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate. The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
He continued: "As the law states, 'Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.' "
Federal Judge James Robart, who presides in Washington state and was appointed by former President George W. Bush, orally granted the temporary restraining order effective nationwide Friday. A written order was issued later in the evening, and Customs and Border Protection alerted airlines it would begin reinstating visas quickly.
"The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripartite government," Robart wrote in the order.
Trump's executive order that he signed last week suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, the US refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely halted Syrian refugees from entering the US.
"This is exactly what we were looking for," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told CNN's Anderson Cooper shortly after Robart's order, adding that "we have a bucket of Constitutional claims."
"It's Keystone Cops, the way that thing (the order) was put together," added Ferguson, who said he was prepared to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
This suit was brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota against the travel ban enacted by Trump's executive order.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman told CNN the agency will review the order and comply with all court orders. Asked for response, a Justice Department spokesperson would only say, "The department looks forward to reviewing the court's written order and will determine next steps."
The State Department is working with the Department of Homeland Security to determine the effect of the stay, a State Department official said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately hailed Robart's order.
"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."
Earlier Friday, a federal judge in Boston declined to renew a temporary restraining order affecting Massachusetts that prohibited the detention or removal of foreign travelers legally authorized to come to the US.
The seven affected Muslim-majority countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
CBP told major US airlines Friday night that the government is reinstating visas and is "back to business as usual" prior to the situation that was in place before last week's executive order, an airline executive told CNN. Airlines are expected as soon as Friday night to start removing travel alerts from their websites and getting messages out to customers to alert them about the change.
It is possible there will be more court activity and an appeal before anyone could act on getting a visa, and it's unclear how long it would take to obtain one.
US airlines use an automated system connected to the CBP database to scan passports and visas to get an instant determination if the passenger can board or not. Unless the government reinstates visas and the airlines get a "board" status, the airlines still will not allow such passengers to board.