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Seattle Judge Blocks Trump’s Immigration Ban

Since our last post about Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration, there have been significant updates to the status of immigration in the United States. Here are the most important things you should know:

I Heard That the Immigration Ban Was Blocked, Is That True?

  • Yes. Late in the evening on Friday February 4, a Seattle federal judge issued a nationwide ruling which temporarily halted the Trump Administration’s refugee and Muslim bans.
  • Judge James L. Robart issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the case which had been brought to the Seattle district court by the States of Washington and Minnesota.  

Who Was Involved in Blocking the Travel Ban?

  • Judge Robart was able to order a nationwide stay on the executive order travel ban because of a case that was brought before him by the states of Washington and Minnesota. These states are currently suing the federal government for damages that they and their constituents will experience as a result of the travel ban.
  • For example, Washington has argued that students and faculty from state-funded universities have been stranded by the travel ban and that professionals at businesses located in the state, like Amazon and Expedia, are being similarly impacted.
  • The states are essentially arguing that blocking immigrants from the United States hurts local infrastructure and the economy.

What Happens Now?

  • Shortly after Judge Robart issued his decision, lawyers for the Trump administration filed a notice to appeal.
  • President Trump himself has reacted very vocally to this stay, tweeting: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
  • President Trump’s outrage at and disrespect for the judiciary has been extremely disturbing. Historically, the United States’ democracy has thrived because of the system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. President Trump’s clear undermining of an esteemed and legitimate judge represents a deeper attempt to sabotage the balance of power and the rule of law within the U.S.
  • In a more diplomatic announcement, the White House announced, “At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) 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.”
  • Since then, the DOJ has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to review Judge Robart’s decision. The 9th Circuit will be reviewing a very specific question: Should they uphold the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge Robart?
  • Whatever the court’s ruling, the losing side may decide to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court–which has been evenly split between liberal and conservative judges since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

How Long Will This Last?

  • It’s difficult to predict exactly how long this block to the travel ban will last, so if you are interested in traveling while the ban is blocked we recommend that you speak with an immigration attorney immediately.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is currently permitting 872 refugees who were “already in transit” to enter the country.

What are Other Concerns About Travel Right Now?

  • There have been reports of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) asking green card holders to sign a form called an I-407, which is a way for green card holders to relinquish their residency.
  • If you are worried that this could happen to you, we recommend that you speak with an immigration attorney immediately, as well. It is very important to know your rights and what you do and do not have to do when CBP officers are trying to intimidate you.
  • In general, every green card holder has a right to a review of their case by an immigration judge. CBP cannot revoke your green card, only an immigration judge can do that.

Our Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Are Here For You

It’s likely that the Justice Department’s appeal will be heard in the near future. We’ll be monitoring the situation for you as the case progresses and if it moves forward to the Supreme Court.

Call our Los Angeles immigration lawyers today. We’re here for you to help you understand what’s happening and to help you figure out what your options are. We vehemently disagree with President Trump’s approach to immigration, and we will fight for you and alongside you each and every day.