The federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay halting deportations under President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries tonight, following widespread protests at airports around the country.
The court order prevents the government from sending immigrants back to their home countries because it would cause them “irreparable harm,” but it is unclear if they will have to remain in detention until a substantive ruling on the constitutionality of the ban is delivered. “If someone is not being released, I guess I’ll just hear from you,” Judge Ann Donnelly told the plaintiff’s lawyers, according to the New York Times.
People affected by the order with valid greencards and visas who were not in transit at the time are still likely stuck abroad, but there’s now at least a time frame for a further ruling on the ban.
The court ruled on a habeas corpus petition filed by the ACLU on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were denied entry to the US upon landing at JFK airport in New York City and detained indefinitely by Customs and Border Patrol. Darweesh spent a decade working for the United States military in Iraq as an interpreter and engineer and had been granted an entry visa after background checks; Alshawi had been granted a visa in order to join his wife and son who are already permanent residents of the US after similar interactions with the US military.
Trump’s executive order halts all immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. The ban was issued late on Friday, leading to widespread confusion about how it would be implemented and enforced, chaos as those decisions were made quickly and without a great deal of transparency, and controversy as the essential legality of a ban that effectively targets Muslims was called into question.