Four federal judges issued orders Saturday night blocking parts of the Trump regime’s Muslim ban. Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ruled first, ordering a nationwide block of deportations on those detained in airports on Saturday. Within an hour of that ruling, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order to block the removal of any green-card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport, for seven days. The judge also ordered that those detained at Dulles have access to an attorney. A third order was handed down in Massachusetts soon after, placing a seven-day stay on implementation of the Trump executive order. Finally, a judge in Seattle stayed the deportation of two people in that state, pending a February 3 hearing.
Reports immediately surfaced of Customs and Border Protection agents refusing to comply with those orders. At Dulles, CPB refused to allow lawyers to talk to the detainees.
As the night wore on, it became increasingly clear that CBP was defying Brinkema’s ruling. Lawyers concluded that that meant someone was in contempt of court. The judge could theoretically send in federal law enforcement officers to force CBP to let the lawyers meet with the detainees. But sending in the U.S. Marshals—who are part of the Department of Justice—to take on Customs and Border Patrol—which is part of the Department of Homeland Security—would have been a bureaucratic clash of the titans. And, like everything else that night, it would have been unprecedented. It didn’t happen.
Though detainees were slowly being released, lawyers were disturbed that they couldn’t meet with them. What if CBP tried to coerce detainees into signing paperwork that could jeopardize their legal status? Release wasn’t enough. A federal agency was defying a federal judge, and no one was quite sure what to do.
At that point, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) showed up and attempted to get the travelers out of detention, or at least negotiate with CBP to allow them access to attorneys. CBP refused to meet with him, instead answering his written questions, in writing, with airport cops acting as courier. When asked what answer he got out of CBP as to why they were refusing to allow detainees to speak with attorneys, Booker said that they "told me nothing, and it was unacceptable. […] I believe it’s a Constitutional crisis, where the executive branch is not abiding by the law."
As of Sunday morning, according to the ACLU, CBP at Dulles was still refusing to allow lawyers to speak with the detained travelers, and lawyers are seeking a contempt order against the government. Likewise, immigration lawyers are reporting that CBP agents at the San Francisco airport and at Los Angeles are ignoring the Donnelly's national order and moving forward with deportations.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release saying at once that DHS "will continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders" and at the same time "comply with judicial orders."
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