DOJ travel ban appeal denied, immigration attorneys weigh in

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump’s ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees.

The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security.

President Trump’s order stopped everyone from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. It also stopped any refugee entry for 120 days.

The higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban will continue for days at least. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco asked challengers of the ban respond to the appeal, and for the Justice Department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.

A federal judge in Washington state’s ruling came down Friday night, putting a ban on the hold. James Robart said, “I find a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.”

Trump tweeted, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

KXAN spoke with one of several local immigration attorneys trying to keep up with the changes and figure out how they impact the people they serve.

“Anyone who is now an immigrant or who was at one time an immigrant is wondering how all of this affects them. And the truth is, it’s taking us time to figure it out because these orders were just issued and implemented with no warning,” immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch said. “It’s going to be big changes.”

The attorney expressed that she feels the weight of the work on her shoulders.

“The amount of phone calls and emails that I get, while feeling a responsibility to stay on top of what’s happening and look out for the people who are my clients has been really difficult to manage an overwhelming time,”  Lincoln-Goldfinch said.

The changes have sparked confusion for many immigrants both in and outside of the U.S.

“They don’t know if they should get on an airplane, they don’t know if they’re here whether they should leave,” Lincoln-Goldfinch said.

Despite Friday night’s news of suspending the travel ban, Linda Miller told KXAN at a protest at ABIA Saturday that she’s not letting up.

“We’ve got to just keep protesting and we’ve got to keep the pressure on,” Miller said, saying she’s fighting for the America that welcomes everybody. “They just changed it, they can change it again.”

Indeed, the appeal from the Justice Department aims to do just that.

Trump has said, “The executive order establishes a process to develop new vetting and mechanisms to ensure those coming into America love and support our people. That they have good intentions.”

Saturday, he tweeted, “The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!”

The Austin Bar Association is hosting a seminar Monday to update attorneys on recent executive actions on immigration. Members who do not specialize in immigration law are also encouraged to get involved.

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