Travelers rush for entry as court denies bid to reinstate travel ban

Munther Alaskry, accompanied by his wife Hiba, son Hassan and daughter Dima have a luggage mishap as they leave New York’s JFK International Airport, in New York, Feb. 3, 2017. The family arrived in New York after the Trump administration reversed course and said he and other interpreters who supported the U.S. military could come to America. They spent nearly a week in limbo in Baghdad, thinking their hopes of starting a new life had been shattered. (AP)

CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) — Visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries who were turned away from the United States due to President Donald Trump’s travel ban are rushing to try again, hoping to make it through a narrow window opened by legal challenges.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco denied Mr. Trump’s effort to immediately reinstate the ban early Sunday. For now, it remains blocked by a judge’s temporary restraining order, and federal officials have told their staffs to comply.

Advocates weren’t taking any chances, telling people who could travel to get on the earliest flights they could find after the week-old ban was blocked Friday by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle.

“We’re telling them to get on the quickest flight ASAP,” says Rula Aoun, director of the Arab American Civil Rights League in Dearborn, Michigan. Her group sued in federal court in Detroit, challenging Mr. Trump’s executive order as unconstitutional.

CBS News justice reporter Paula Reid says it is entirely possible that the battle over the travel ban will end up in the Supreme Court within several months. She notes the Trump Administration “didn’t do itself any favors” in drafting the executive order that brought it into force.

Reid also says the federal judge in Seattle who issued the initial stay on the travel ban pointed out that the Administration initially failed to address issues including travelers from the seven banned countries who had already been granted U.S. visas — including some who got them for helping the U.S. government or military in war zones.

“The way they drafted it, it is pretty clear they weren’t thinking six, seven steps ahead to the Supreme Court, and therefore it is unlikely that this will prevail on the merits if it’s the constitutional case that gets to the Supreme Court,” Reid says.

Vice President Mike Pence says on Sunday morning talk show appearances that “it’s quite clear the president has the ability to decide who has access to this country.”

He calls the San Francisco court’s decision “frustrating” and adds on “Fox News Sunday” the administration intends to “move very quickly” and will use “all legal means to stay that order.”

Pence says quick action is needed so Mr. Trump can take the action needed “to protect our country.”

And Mr. Trump tweeted again about the issue Sunday afternoon, continuing his criticism of the Seattle judge and saying “if anything happens blame him and the court system”:

Protesters sought to keep up the pressure, meanwhile, gathering in Denver and other U.S. cities to demonstrate against the ban. Meanwhile, legal advocates waited at airports in case anything went wrong with new arrivals.

 

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