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Federal Judge: US Must Allow Entry To Visa Holders

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A federal judge ruled that U.S. entry be allowed for visa holders from all seven of the Muslim-majority countries affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban.

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. of Los Angeles made the ruling on Jan. 31. The order states that U.S. officials are to refrain from "removing, detaining or blocking the entry of plaintiffs or any other person [from one of those seven countries] ... with a valid immigrant visa," according to Reuters.

Attorney Julie Ann Goldberg brought the case forward on behalf of the plaintiffs she represents, including more than two dozen people of Yemeni descent. Some of these individuals are legal residents of the U.S., while others are family members of U.S. citizens, including children without their parents.

After Birotte’s ruling, Goldberg said she believed her clients would be allowed back into the U.S., but she told KPCC that as of Feb. 2, there had been no word from officials.

“We kept asking, 'Look, we have this court order. We want the passports back. Please give them back to us,'” Goldberg said. “We got absolutely no answer.”  

She added that she would petition the court to find officials in contempt if they received no response by Feb. 6.

On Feb. 1, The Commonwealth of Virginia filed a contempt motion against Trump.

Goldberg told The Sacramento Bee that she plans on filing her own contempt motion against administration officials on Feb. 3.

“The Trump administration is acting as if he is running a dictatorship,” Goldberg said in a telephone interview. “It’s as if he has forgotten there are three branches of government in this country and has totally disregarded any judicial order. He is ignoring them across the country.”

Other states’ federal judges have made rulings similar to Birotte's in California. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston ruled to ban the detention or removal of legal permanent residents, visa holders and approved refugees. And U.S. Judge Ann M. Donnelly of New York ruled that authorities could not remove individuals who were being held at airports after arriving from the seven banned countries shortly after the president signed the travel ban into effect.

According to CNN, Donnelly suggested the petitioners had a “strong likelihood of success” in proving that being denied entry to the U.S. "violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution."

Sources: ReutersKPCCThe Sacramento BeeCNN / Photo credit: Joe Gratz/Flickr

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