LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled President Donald Trump’s administration must allow immigrants with initial clearance for legal residency to enter the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations, despite an executive order ban.
Tuesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr follows decisions by federal judges in at least four other states that also limited the executive order Trump issued on Friday.
But it goes further, by focusing on a large group of people from the seven nations of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – the countries targeted in the executive order – who are outside the United States and trying to enter.
In the temporary ruling, Birotte ordered U.S. officials to refrain from “removing, detaining or blocking the entry of plaintiffs or any other person … with a valid immigrant visa” who is arriving from one of the seven nations.
According to the U.S. Department of State, immigrant visas are the first step to becoming a lawful permanent resident, or a green card holder.
Birotte’s ruling does not apply to tourists, students or business travelers with non-immigrant visas.
The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the order and would have no further comment, a spokeswoman for the agency said in an email.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security cited its policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Trump’s executive order has not only caused consternation for the nations involved but among other Muslim-majority countries, allies such as Germany and Britain and career State Department officials.
Attorney Julie Ann Goldberg, who brought the case on behalf of more than two dozen plaintiffs of Yemeni descent, including U.S. citizens, said they sought the ruling after learning of a move by the U.S. State Department to cancel the immigrant visas of people from the seven countries. [/restrict]