A US appeals court has upheld a decision blocking President Donald Trump’s revised “travel ban” on people from six mainly Muslim nations.
Ruling on a case brought by the state of Hawaii, the appeal judges found that the executive order violated existing immigration legislation
It is a further legal setback for the president’s efforts to get the ban he promised his supporters.
The dispute may end up being decided in the US Supreme Court.
Mr Trump’s own tweet from 5 June was cited in the judges’ ruling.
An earlier version of the travel ban, issued by Mr Trump just days after taking office, sparked confusion at airports and protests.
In the revised executive order, the 90-day ban was to apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It also called for a 120-day ban on all refugees, but removed references to religious minorities.
During his election campaign, Mr Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.
Reacting to the latest ruling, White House spokesman Sean Spicer defended the executive order, saying “we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence”.
“We continue to be confident that the president’s executive order to protect this country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Supreme Court,” Mr Spicer added.
Trump’s travel ban – the story so far
An older man wearing clothing indicating he may be a Muslim wheels a suitcase through the international arrivals hall at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia (February 2017)Image copyrightAFP
President Trump signed an executive order on 27 January, suddenly introducing a series of immigration measures, including a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority nations
Chaotic scenes at US airports and nationwide protests followed, before the order was halted seven days later by a federal judge in Seattle
On 9 February appeal court judges upheld the Seattle ruling
The president signed a new executive order on 6 March, including many of the provisions of the first order but no longer including Iraq, lifting the indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees, and clarifying the situation for green card holders
On 16 March federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the revised executive order in separate rulings, just hours before it was due to come into force
A federal appeals court upheld the Maryland court’s ruling on 26 May
The White House filed two emergency applications with the US Supreme Court on 2 June to seek to overturn lower court rulings
On 12 June appeal court judges upheld the Hawaii ruling
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was reviewing a March ruling by a Hawaii-based federal judge that blocked parts of Mr Trump’s order.
In their ruling, the judges said that “immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show”.
Protesters outside the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals as they prepare to hear arguments on US President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban in Seattle, Washington (May 15, 2017)Image copyrightAFP
Mr Trump’s travel bans have sparked protests and multiple court hearings
They said Mr Trump had failed to show that the entry of people from the six countries mentioned in the ban, as well as the refugees, would be detrimental to US interests.
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But the judges said the government was allowed to review the vetting process for people entering the US – something the earlier Hawaii ruling had blocked.
Mr Trump has repeatedly said that the ban is necessary to protect Americans from terrorism.
Significant recent attacks in the US were not committed by citizens of any other the six countries named in the order.
The legal ruling comes on the first anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting, in which a US citizen shot dead 49 people at a Florida nightclub. It was the worst mass shooting in US history.