Obama-appointed Federal Judge Ann Donnelly has blocked deportations of foreign nationals who have been detained at American airports in the last day.
The legal maneuver follows an executive order issued by President Trump Friday calling for temporary visa restrictions on seven countries connected to radical Islamic terrorism.
The suit had been filed by the ACLU on behalf of two Iraqi refugees who were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, despite that both men were later released. NBC reports that a Trump administration official said waivers would be granted for the two men.
That didn’t stop Judge Donnelly from granting the stay for others — blocking anyone with a valid visa from being detained and keeping those stranded at airports from being deported. It does not mean they have to be released from detention.
NBC also reported that the ACLU attorneys and a crowd outside the Federal Court in Brooklyn were elated by the ruling:
“Stay is granted,” ACLU Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho said on Twitter. “Stay is national.”
Crowds outside federal court in Brooklyn cheered the news. The ACLU said the judge ordered a list of detainees to be provided, and said it would go through the names and ensure they are released.
“But the critical point tonight is no one can be sent back to one of these countries,” attorney Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.
Judge Donnelly was appointed by President Obama on the recommendation of current Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY.), who said about Donnely at the time, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
“Ann Donnelly met all of my qualifications with flying colors,” Schumer continued. “When you speak with Judge Donnelly, what’s immediately clear is her deep respect and passion for the law. Judge Donnelly is more than a brilliant resume, I know her well and at her core she is a kind, thoughtful and compassionate person.”
There was no comment from the White House at press time.