Los Angeles: A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to restore US president Donald Trump's controversial executive order closing US borders to refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, keeping a temporary suspension in place.
"We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury," the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled.
The news sparked celebrations on social media, with memes and cartoons being posted.
— Trump's Mockery Team (@Spyhuntress) February 10, 2017
The court denied the government's request to reinstate the measure on an emergency basis, meaning a lower court suspension of the travel ban stands for now. A panel of three judges held a contentious hearing in the matter on Tuesday, with the lawyer representing the Trump administration insisting the controversial ban was justified for national security reasons. The US president, meanwhile, was in no mood to back down. He took to Twitter after the ruling, firing off this salvo:
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
He said the ruling was "a political decision" and predicted that his administration would win an appeal "in my opinion, very easily", the New York Times said.
The travel ban, one of the first executive orders Trump issued after taking office on 20 January, suspended worldwide refugee entry into the US. It also barred visitors from the seven nations for up to 90 days to give federal security agencies time to impose stricter vetting processes.
Immediately after it was issued, the ban spurred chaos at airports nationwide as hundreds of foreign travellers were stranded at immigration checkpoints. The State Department said up to 60,000 foreigners' visas had been cancelled in the days immediately after the ban was imposed.
Thursday's decision reviewed a ruling issued on 3 February by Judge James L Robart, a federal judge in Seattle. Judge Robart blocked the key parts of the order, allowing immigrants and travellers who had been barred entry to come into the US.
Updated Date: Feb 10, 2017 10:43 AM