U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration by citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries ran into at least a temporary roadblock Saturday night, after a U.S. District judge in Brooklyn granted an emergency stay sought by immigrants’ rights lawyers.
The judge’s ruling applies to those who have already arrived in the U.S. and those who are in transit who hold valid visas.
The decision halts part of Trump’s executive order, which barred citizens from those seven countries for the next 90 days.
The Department of Homeland Security said that by Saturday evening, its agents had stopped 109 foreigners at U.S. airports based on Trump’s order and prevented another 173 people from boarding flights headed for the U.S.
After U.S. District Court Ann Donnelly granted the stay, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had filed suit to block Trump’s ban, issued a one-word celebratory tweet: “Victory!”
Trump’s executive order, signed Friday, suspends the entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, halts admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely and bars entry for three months to residents from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
A senior Homeland Security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide an operational update on Trump’s executive order, said the department quickly overhauled its screening procedures after Trump signed the order Friday.
The department issued new guidance to its Customs and Border Protection officers in the field and adjusted its computerized targeting system to identify people who are barred entry through the executive order.
The official said the order allowed legal permanent residents known as green-card holders and foreigners who were granted special visas for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters, to enter after undergoing a full background check and in-person interview.
The official said 81 people made it through that process and were allowed to enter the country.
The official said Homeland Security’s legal team was reviewing the New York federal judge’s Saturday ruling and that the department would adjust its practices in line with the order.
In Virginia, another federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Saturday night, directing the Department of Homeland Security to allow lawyers to meet with legal permanent residents detained at Washington Dulles International Airport.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema also forbade Homeland Security from deporting any of the green-card holders for seven days.