Key dates in Trump's bumpy rollout of travel restrictions

A woman holds up a "NO BAN" sign outside a federal appeals court on Feb 9, 2017, in San Francisco, California. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A federal appeals court on Thursday (Feb 9) unanimously refused to restore President Donald Trump's controversial executive order on immigration, prompting the US leader to vow a legal battle.

Mr Trump's decree summarily denied entry to all refugees for 120 days, and travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Refugees from Syria were blocked indefinitely.

The ban sparked international furor and created a high-stakes legal tug-of-war in the president's first weeks.

Here is a summary of the order's tumultuous rollout in five key dates:

Jan 27: Just one week after his inauguration, Mr Trump unveiled his order with no prior warning, sowing travel chaos and confusion, and igniting worldwide outrage.

Legal challenges against the ban were quickly filed after airport officials detained dozens of travellers from the seven countries, as well as refugees seeking to enter the United States. Protests were staged in cities across the United States and abroad.

Feb 3: Seattle federal judge James Robart suspended the ban nationwide after the states of

Washington and Minnesota asked for it to be overturned on grounds of religious discrimination and that it had caused "irreparable harm."

Mr Trump unleashed a string of fiery tweets defending his policy and attacking Judge Robart, calling him a "so-called judge."

With the ban temporarily halted, travellers from the targeted countries with valid visas began arriving on American soil, while others prepared to set off for the United States.

Feb 5: A San Francisco-based federal appeals court rejected a Justice Department request to immediately restore the travel ban, asking both sides to present additional documents.

The Trump administration had filed an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, saying that suspending the ban was causing "irreparable harm" to the American public, and that Judge Robart's decision "second-guesses the president's national security judgment." But the court instead scheduled a hearing.

Feb 7: A panel of three judges heard arguments in the matter in what turned into a contentious hearing, with the Justice Department lawyer insisting the controversial ban was justified for national security reasons.

The hearing was focused on whether to immediately lift the suspension of the ban, not on the constitutionality of the decree itself - a broader battle that looks likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Feb 9: The federal appeals court refused to restore Mr Trump's controversial order, meaning a lower court suspension of the travel ban stands for now.

The court said the government had "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 billionaire president swiftly took to Twitter to vow a legal fight, writing "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"

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