(Adds Justice Department comment, background)
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 27 A federal appeals court on
Monday rejected a U.S. Department of Justice request to place on
hold an appeal over President Donald Trump's travel ban on
people from seven majority-Muslim countries.
The order from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could
increase pressure on the Trump administration to clarify its
intentions regarding the controversial executive order.
The 9th Circuit suspended Trump's travel ban earlier this
month while litigation over the measure proceeds. Trump has said
he will soon issue a new executive order that addresses concerns
raised by the appeals court judges.
The president's Jan. 27 order caused chaos at airports
around the world as visa holders heading to the United States
were pulled off planes or turned around upon arrival at U.S.
Trump has said travel limitations are necessary to protect
the United States from attacks by Islamist militants. His
original order barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia,
Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.
Refugees were banned for 120 days, except those from Syria, who
were banned indefinitely.
Americans were deeply divided over the measure, which was
condemned by prominent U.S. companies and allies and challenged
in court by the state of Washington.
The 9th Circuit had directed the Justice Department to file
a legal brief defending the travel ban later this week. Given
Trump's intention to issue a new order, however, the Justice
Department asked last week for the appeal to be placed on hold.
In a response, the state of Washington said the Trump
administration has said both that it would pursue an appeal, and
that it would issue a new order.
"Throughout these proceedings, there appears to have been a
lack of communication between the Department of Justice and the
White House," the Washington attorney general's office said in a
court filing arguing that the 9th Circuit move forward now.
Representatives for the Justice Department declined to
After stating that a new travel ban would be issued last
week, a White House official said on Wednesday that a new order
would come sometime this week.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances