Protesters stand outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Calif. Tuesday, February 7, 2017 as a three-judge federal court panel hears oral arguments from the State of Washington v. Trump regarding the recent immigration ban ordered by President Donald Trump. (James Chan/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF federal appeals court upholds block of Trump travel ban

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a preliminary injunction Monday blocking enforcement of President Donald Trump’s travel ban that targeted six Muslim-majority countries and suspended the entry of refugees to the U.S.

The 9th Circuit is the second federal appeals court to uphold the order after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Virginia, upheld an injunction in a separate case on May 25. The U.S Supreme Court is deciding whether it will hear an appeal in that case.

Monday’s ruling blocks Trump’s second, narrower executive order that was issued on March 6. The White House retooled an earlier order that caused protests and chaos at airports nationwide when it was suddenly implemented less than a week into Trump’s presidency. That order was quickly blocked by courts as well.

Before the second ban could be implemented, the state of Hawaii sued to block enforcement, winning a preliminary injunction that was upheld Monday.

Trump has criticized the courts and even his own Department of Justice for the continued delays in implementing the ban, complaining that the courts are “slow and political.”

“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to (Supreme Court),” Trump wrote on Twitter last week. “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version!”

The 9th Circuit found that Trump had exceeded the scope of his authority in issuing the order, not making sufficient finding that the people he was blocking from entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

While the order cited the prevention of terrorism as its main purpose, the court cited Department of Homeland Security reports that found that few, if any, people from the affected nations — Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — had been implicated in terrorism in the U.S. The original order also targeted Iraq.

The court also found that Trump needed to follow a specific process when blocking access by refugees.

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