(Adds Iraqi family, refugee in Lebanon, legal background)
* Appeal court denies request for immediate stay
* Trump says "For the safety of the country, we'll win"
* Some travelers take advantage of newly reopened window
* Iraqi refugee in Lebanon waits for word from U.N.
By Yeganeh Torbati and Tom Perry
WASHINGTON/BEIRUT, Feb 5 A U.S. appeal court
late on Saturday denied a request from the U.S. Department of
Justice to immediately restore a immigration order from
President Donald Trump barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim
countries and temporarily banning refugees.
The court ruling dealt a further setback to Trump, who has
denounced the judge in the state of Washington who blocked his
executive order on Friday. In tweets and comments to reporters,
the president has insisted he will get the ban reinstated.
Trump says the temporary immigration restrictions on
citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and
Yemen, and on all refugees, are necessary to protect the United
States from Islamist militants. Critics say they are unjustified
The judge's order and the appeal ruling have created what
may be a short-lived opportunity for travelers from the seven
affected countries to get into the United States while the legal
In a brief order, the appeals court said the government's
request for an immediate administrative stay on the Washington
judge's decision had been denied. It was awaiting further
submissions from Washington and Minnesota states on Sunday, and
from the government on Monday.
The government's appeal says the decision by judge James
Robart in Washington poses an immediate harm to the public,
thwarts enforcement of an executive order and "second-guesses
the president's national security judgment about the quantum of
risk posed by the admission of certain classes of (non-citizens)
and the best means of minimizing that risk".
Trump denounced the "so-called" judge in a series of tweets
on Saturday and told reporters: "We'll win. For the safety of
the country, we'll win."
The president's Jan. 27 order has drawn criticism even from
U.S. allies and created chaos for thousands of people who have,
in some cases, spent years seeking asylum in the United States.
Iraqi Fuad Sharef, together with his wife and three
children, spent two years obtaining U.S. visas, and had packed
up to move to America last week, but were turned back to Iraq
after a failed attempt to board a U.S.-bound flight from Cairo.
On Sunday, the family checked in for a Turkish Airlines
flight to New York from Istanbul.
"Yeah, we are very excited. We are very happy," Sharef told
Reuters TV. "Finally, we have been cleared. We are allowed to
enter the United States."
Rana Shamasha, 32, an Iraqi refugee in Lebanon, was due to
travel to the United States with her two sisters and mother on
Feb. 1 to join relatives in Detroit until their trip was
cancelled as a result of the travel ban.
She is now waiting to hear from U.N. officials overseeing
their case. "If they tell me there is a plane tomorrow morning,
I will go. If they tell me there is one in an hour, I will go,"
she told Reuters by telephone in Beirut, saying their bags were
still packed. "I no longer have a house here, work, or
anything," she said.
An official at Beirut airport said three Syrian families had
left for the United States via Europe on Sunday morning.
In his ruling in Washington state on Friday, Judge Robart
questioned the use of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United
States as a justification for the ban, saying no attacks had
been carried out on U.S. soil by individuals from the seven
affected countries since then.
For Trump's order to be constitutional, Robart said, it had
to be "based in fact, as opposed to fiction".
The 9/11 attacks were carried out by hijackers from Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, whose
nationals were not affected by the order.
The Justice Department appeal criticized Robart's legal
reasoning, saying it violated the separation of powers and
stepped on the president's authority as commander-in-chief.
The appeal said the state of Washington lacked standing to
challenge the order and denied that the order "favors Christians
at the expense of Muslims."
The U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland
Security said they were complying with Robart's order and many
visitors are expected to start arriving on Sunday, while the
government said it expects to begin admitting refugees again on
(Reporting by Chris Michaud, writing by Mark Trevelyan, editing
by Philippa Fletcher)