Trump travel ban: Hearing over, but no decision yet

12:07 pm on 9 February 2017

Donald Trump's travel ban has been debated at a federal appeals court in the United States.

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

Protests against the travel ban in Chicago on 1 February. Since it came into effect the ban has prompted protests around the world. Photo: AFP

An executive order by Mr Trump temporarily banned entry for all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries.

Federal judge James Robart, in Seattle, responding to a challenge by Washington state, suspended the order last Friday.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is heard arguments today from Justice Department lawyers and opposing attorneys for the states of Washington and Minnesota about whether to restore the ban.

A 15-page brief issued by the US Justice Department on Monday night had argued the order was a "lawful exercise of the president's authority" and not a ban on Muslims.

The appeals court is looking only at the narrow question of whether the Seattle court had the grounds to halt Mr Trump's order.

The judges have ended the hearing without announcing a ruling, but said they would issue a ruling as soon as possible.

Whatever the judges decided, the case was likely to end up in the Supreme Court, the BBC reported.

Mr Trump's executive order, signed on 27 January, imposed a 120-day halt on refugees entering the US and barred citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

It sparked protests and chaos at US and overseas airports in the weekend that followed.

- Reuters / BBC

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs