The US appeals court has rejected a request from Donald Trump’s administration to reinstate the controversial ban on Muslim refugees entering the country.
It comes after a federal judge granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the president’s travel ban on Friday. The challenge was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota.
The ban, issued last week under the guise of making America safer, sparked protests around the world and caused chaos at US airports as travelers were detained.
The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying on Saturday that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security
Now the higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban is expected to continue for days.
The White House and the US states challenging it have been given a deadline of Monday to present more arguments to the court.
Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco forcefully argued on Saturday that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the US - an assertion that appeared to invoke the wider battle to come over illegal immigration, the Associated Press reports.
On Saturday the government officially suspended the ban’s enforcement in compliance with the order of US District Judge James Robart.
It was an extraordinary setback for the new president, who just one week ago acted to suspend America’s refugee program and halt immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries the government said raise terrorism concerns.
Trump mocked Robart, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, calling him a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” ruling “will be overturned.”
“Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision,” he tweeted.