U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday denounced the Seattle judge who lifted a ban for citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, vowing that his government would reinstate it as affected travellers scrambled for tickets to try to quickly enter the United States.
The federal judge in the state of Washington on Friday blocked Trump’s week-old order to stop people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the United States as his administration develops stricter vetting rules for immigrants and travellers that Trump says are needed to prevent attacks.
Washington state is the first to test the broad constitutionality of Trump’s travel ban, which has been condemned by rights groups that consider it discriminatory.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump said on Twitter. It is unusual for a president to attack a member of the judiciary, which is an independent arm of the U.S. government.
“When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security – big trouble!” Trump tweeted.
Because of the temporary restraining order, the U.S. government said travellers with valid visas would be allowed to enter the country. The State Department said almost 60,000 visas had been suspended because of Trump’s ban.
The order had set off chaos and moved thousands of people to protest at airports across the United States last week.
“I am very happy that we are going to travel today. Finally, we made it,” said Fuad Sharef, an Iraqi with an immigration visa who was prevented from boarding a flight to New York last week.
“I didn’t surrender and I fought for my right and other people’s right,” Sharef told Reuters as he and his family prepared to fly from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, to Istanbul and then to New York, before starting a new life in Nashville, Tennessee.