Appeals Court Rejects Trump's Challenge; Refugee Order Still Blocked

REUTERS/Ahmed SaadFuad Sharef, an Iraqi with an immigration visa who was prevented with his family from boarding a flight to New York a week ago, hug his relatives goodbye at Erbil International Airport, Iraq February 4, 2017, to fly, on Turkish Airlines, to Nashville, Tennessee, their new home.

A U.S. appeals court denied on Sunday a request from the Department of Justice to restore President Donald Trump's order temporarily banning refugees.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle had ruled Friday that the order would be halted across the nation with immediate effect, and said that "the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly." The Justice Department appealed late Saturday, with Trump saying, "For the safety of the country, we'll win."

"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "Many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country," he said in another tweet later.

But early Sunday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the government's request for an immediate administrative stay on the Seattle judge's decision had been denied.

Protests erupted nationwide after Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 that bars visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia from entering the country for 90 days, while also temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days. The order also indefinitely halted resettlement for refugees from Syria.

Trump explained in a statement, "America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say… This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order."

The day Trump signed the order, he pledged to give priority to persecuted Christians as refugees. "We are going to help them (persecuted Christians). They've been horribly treated," he told CBN News.

"Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair," he said during the interview on The Brody File.

Many Christians, including megachurch pastors and the National Association of Evangelicals, have spoken out against the refugee order, urging love and compassion.