U.S. judges in at least four states blocked federal authorities from enforcing President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, reports Reuters.
Judges in Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state, each home to international airports, issued their rulings after a similar order was issued on Saturday night by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York’s Brooklyn borough.
Donnelly had ruled in a lawsuit by two men from Iraq being held at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
While none of the rulings struck down Friday’s executive order by the new Republican president, the growing number of them could complicate the administration’s effort to enforce it.
In Boston, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs on Sunday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the removal of two Iranians who have taught at the University of Massachusetts, and had been detained at the city’s Logan International Airport.
That order was set to last seven days, and appeared to go further than Donnelly’s by barring officials from detaining, as well as removing, approved refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents entering from the seven countries. Donnelly’s order forbade only removal.
Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, in a statement called Burroughs’ ruling “a huge victory for justice” in the face of what he called Trump’s “unconstitutional ban on Muslims.” The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion.
Burroughs’ ruling has even prompted some Trump critics to urge green card holders to fly into Boston rather than other airports, to lessen the risk of detainment. Green cards allow foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the United States.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s order “doesn’t affect green card holders moving forward.”