Washington: A federal judge granted an emergency stay Saturday night for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries who have already arrived in the US and those who are in transit, and who hold valid visas, ruling they cannot be removed from the US -- a decision that halts President Donald Trump's executive order barring citizens from those countries from entering the US for the next 90 days.
"The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and other similarly situated violates their due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution," US District Judge Ann Donnelly said in her decision.
"There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017, Executive Order," the judge wrote in the ruling.
Civil rights group 'ACLU' argued Saturday evening in a federal court in New York for a nationwide stay that would block the deportation of all people stranded in US airports under what the group called "President Trump's new Muslim ban."
The civil rights group is representing many travelers held at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday and Saturday, including two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been granted visas to enter the United States.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, who argued the case, said the ruling "preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil."