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Travel Ban Temporarily Stopped: About the Judge and Immediate Attempts to Revive the Order

On February 3, Seattle-based federal judge James Robart temporarily blocked United States President Trump’s travel ban on the basis that it is unconstitutional. Visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen are now permitted to enter the United States.

The travel ban, which was enacted on January 27, immediately received backlash across the United States and the world. Protests were held at airports throughout the United States demanding the release of immigrants and refugees who were being detained and, in some cases, deported. Separate rulings were made in New York, Boston, and Virginia regarding halting detainment and deportation, but there was confusion over whether these rulings could be federally enforced.

Robart, a Republican judge who was unanimously approved by the senate during George W. Bush’s administration said in his decision that the government was “arguing that we have to protect the U.S. from individuals from these countries, and there’s no support for that.”

Robart has a long history of standing up for marginalized groups in the United States. Robart is a mental health and special needs advocate for children, and was the former president and trustee of Seattle Children’s Home, which assists children and their families with mental health services. In a ruling in 2016, he held the Seattle Police Department accountable for the disproportionate number of deaths as a result of police casualties; over 41% of deaths were victims of African-American descent, whereas only 20% of the population in the area was of such descent. Robart has also assisted with the settlement of Southeast Asian refugees in the United States.

Robart’s ruling received immediate backlash from the Trump administration. The morning of February 5, the United States Appeals Court rejected a request to throw out Robart’s ruling. In response to Robart's ruling, Trump has released a series of tweets. However, these tweets do not reflect the understanding that people granted visas and refugee status have to undergo extreme vetting.

The United States government is in the process of reinstating an estimated 60,000 visas that were revoked as a result of Trump’s ban.


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