A federal judge in New York granted a stay Saturday night to prevent deportations of people detained on entry to the U.S. following President Trump’s executive order barring refugees.
Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, granted the emergency request by the American Civil Liberties Union after a brief hearing. In a three-page order, the judge said there was “imminent danger” that deporting refugees, visa holders and others detained after Mr. Trump’s directive would be subjected to “substantial and irreparable injury.”
The ruling affects only those travelers who had already arrived in the U.S. after the president’s order went into effect.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said the judge “understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country.”
“Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court,” he said.
There were reports of 100 to 200 persons detained at U.S. airports on Saturday after Mr. Trump’s executive order went into effect, although government lawyers could not confirm those estimates.
Mr. Trump issued the executive order Friday blocking people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., and putting a temporary halt to refugee admissions. His action fulfilled one of his most controversial campaign pledges.
At least 12 refugees were detained at JFK Airport in New York within hours of the president’s order, with two of them released later in the day.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe said Judge Donnelly “ruled correctly and courageously.”
“Expect the Trump gang to trash her mercilessly but know their whining will be meritless,” the liberal constitutional-law scholar said on Twitter.
Judge Donnelly was confirmed by the Senate in October 2015 by a vote of 95-2.