Washington/Los Angeles, Feb 4: An American judge has imposed a temporary, nationwide hold on Donald Trump's ban on travellers and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations, in a major blow to the US President's controversial order.
US district judge James Robart in Seattle issued the temporary restraining order that will remain valid nationwide pending a full review of a complaint by Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson.
"The Constitution prevailed today. No one is above the law -- not even the President," Ferguson said after the federal judge granted his request to immediately halt implementation of Trump's executive order on immigration nationwide.
Robart, who was nominated to the court by former president George W Bush in 2003, ruled that Ferguson had met the high standards necessary to block the executive order until the court reaches the merits of the lawsuit. The temporary restraining order immediately stops federal officials from enforcing parts of the ban that target immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries and stops them from enforcing parts of the ban that grant exemptions based on religion.
Reacting to the development, the White House said it will file for an emergency order against the federal judge's ruling.
"At the earliest possible time, the department of justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
"The President's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," Spicer said. The White House defended President's executive order.
"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'," Spicer said.
Hailing the court ruling, Indian-American congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said, "This is fantastic and critically important news. These orders are inhumane and unconstitutional."
"This ruling came from a courthouse in Seattle and it makes me so proud of my city and my state for leading the way in defence of human rights and the rule of law. Washington leads the way," Jayapal added.
Trump last week signed the sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees and impose tough new controls on travellers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen as part of new measures to 'keep radical Islamic terrorists' out of America.