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Judge temporarily blocks Trump's travel ban, airlines told to allow passengers

Washington: A federal judge in Seattle on Friday temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's week-old immigration order from being enforced nationwide, allowing entry into the country to visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

In response, the White House vowed late Friday to fight the ruling calling it "outrageous", saying they would seek an emergency halt to the judge's order as soon as possible and restore the president's "lawful and appropriate order."

"The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," the White House said. A revised statement released later omitted the word "outrageous."

Earlier courts around the country have halted aspects of President Trump's temporary ban on travel from the seven countries. Airlines that had been stopping travelers from boarding planes to the United States were being told by the government Friday night to begin allowing them to fly, though the Trump administration could again block the travelers if it were to win an emergency stay.

The federal government was "arguing that we have to protect the U.S. from individuals from these countries, and there’s no support for that," said the judge, James Robart of Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, an appointee of President George W. Bush, in a decision delivered from the bench.

The judge's ruling was temporary, putting Trump's policy on hold at least until the government and opponents of the order had a chance to make full arguments, or until the administration won a stay.