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Immigration White House

White House calls court order against its travel ban "outrageous," vows court battle

Protesters at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport demonstrate on Jan. 28 against President Trump's executive order restricting refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Brandon Wade / Associated Press)
Protesters at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport demonstrate on Jan. 28 against President Trump's executive order restricting refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Brandon Wade / Associated Press)

The White House responded sharply Friday night to a Seattle federal judge's order that temporarily halts enforcement of an executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and blocking the entry of any new refugees for at least 120 days.

"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate," the White House said in a statement. Later, the word "outrageous" was removed in a revised statement that was sent out.

"The President’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," the statement continued.

"As the law states, 'Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,' " the statement said.

Lawsuits have argued that the executive order's focus on countries that are predominantly Muslim and its provision for giving preference to religious minorities could violate the Constitution's protections against religious discrimination. Civil rights groups have also challenged the president's targeting of specific nationalities.

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