Federal judge declines to renew restraining order on Trump travel ban

Posted at 7:05 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 20:34:01-05

In the first court victory for the Trump administration, a federal judge in Boston declined Friday to renew a temporary restraining order affecting Massachusetts that prohibited the detention or removal of foreign travelers legally authorized to come to the US.

The win in court comes at the same time that the administration issued a clarification to its travel order allowing for some citizens from the seven banned countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — to enter the US under specific circumstances. It was issued shortly before a federal judge in Washington state issued a temporary restraining order against the travel ban effective nationwide.

The original temporary restraining order in Massachusetts, issued by US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs and US Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, was put in place early Sunday morning and was set to expire on February 5.

But a different federal judge, US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gordon, ruled Friday that the claims brought by legal permanent residents are now moot given the White House counsel’s recent clarification that the travel ban order does not apply such individuals.

Gordon went on to additionally conclude that because the other plaintiffs in the case — Iranian nationals and Oxfam America, Inc. — did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim, “an extension of the restraining order at the present time is not warranted.”

But attorneys who brought the lawsuit vowed to continue the fight after Friday’s ruling.

“The ACLU of Massachusetts is deeply disappointed that the federal district court did not extend the temporary restraining order on President Trump’s illegal and dangerous executive order. But this case is not over; ACLU of Massachusetts lawyers will continue to challenge the executive order in this case, and the ACLU will continue to challenge it in cases all over the nation,” Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt in the New York lawsuit also pointed out that the federal judge’s order in that case protects travelers from being removed from the country on a nationwide basis until at least February 21.

DHS clarifies travel ban

The Department of Homeland Security is looking to clear up some confusion about who from the seven restricted countries can still enter the US during what the agency described as a “pause.”

“This pause does not apply to Lawful Permanent Residents” — also known as green card holders — “dual citizens with passports from a country other than the seven listed, or those traveling on diplomatic, NATO or UN visas. Special Immigrant Visa holders who are nationals of these seven countries may board US-bound planes, and apply for and receive a national interest exception to the pause upon arrival,” according to the DHS release.

The flurry of Friday night activity was capped off by a new tweet from the President, who insisted that we must keep “evil” out of the country.