6 Feb 2017

Trump continues twitter attacks against judiciary

6:11 pm on 6 February 2017

American president Donald Trump has ramped up his criticism of a federal judge who has blocked his controversial travel ban.

The protest, sponsored by more than a dozen advocacy groups and local politicians, was held outside the historic Stonewall Inn in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood, the symbolic heart of the LGBTQ rights movement.

A protester holds sign during a rally in New York City on February 4, 2017 to protest Donald Trump's immigration order and perceived anti-LGBT agenda. Photo: AFP

Refugees can again enter the US, after an appeals court last night rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate a travel ban blocked by a judge on Friday.

Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order on a 90-day ban affecting citizens from seven, mainly Muslim countries, and a 120-day bar on all refugees.

Mr Trump responded by vowing to overturn the legal ruling and labelled Judge James Robart a "so-called judge".

In a series of tweets that broaden his attack on the country's judiciary, Mr Trump is saying Americans should blame Judge Robart and the court system if anything happens.

He has not elaborated on what threats the US potentially face, saying he has told the Department of Homeland Security to check people coming into the US very carefully.

The travel ban will remain suspended until the full case has been heard.

The court gave the White House and the states a deadline of Monday to present more arguments.

The US Department of Justice filed the appeal against the suspension on Saturday.

Mr Trump was named as one of the appellants in his capacity as president, along with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In its appeal, the department said Judge James Robart had overreached by "second guessing" the president on a national security matter.

It argued only the president could decide who can enter or stay in the US.

Mr Trump's decision to take on the courts and challenge a judge's ruling that his travel ban is unlawful could pose a constitutional crisis.

Judge said travel ban must be 'based in fact'

Federal judge James Robart ruled there were grounds to challenge the ban after Washington and Minnesota states challenged Mr Trump's executive order.

Several hundred demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries at the international terminal at O'Hare Airport on February 1, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois

An immigration ban protest in Chicago on 1 February. Photo: AFP

The judge questioned the use of the 9/11 attacks to justify the bans on passengers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - none of which had citizens implicated in the attacks.

In order for the bans to be constitutional, they had to be "based in fact, as opposed to fiction", the judge said.

After the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security said it would return to its normal procedures for screening travellers. Several major airlines resumed allowing citizens affected to board their flights. People with valid visas rushed to book.

Thousands stopped in their tracks

Last weekend thousands of people who had tickets to travel or immigrate to the US were stopped in their tracks by Trump's executive order, a move he said was needed to prevent attacks.

The court ruling was the first move in what could be months of legal challenges to Trump's push to clamp down on immigration.

His order set off chaos at airports across the United States last week where travellers were stranded and thousands of people gathered to protest.

The Washington state lawsuit is the first to test the broad constitutionality of Trump's travel ban, which rights groups consider discriminatory.

The State Department said almost 60,000 visas had been suspended because of Trump's ban.

- BBC / Reuters / AAP

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