CHICAGO -- Visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban hurried to board U.S.-bound flights Saturday, fearing they might have only a slim window through which to enter the country after a federal judge temporarily blocked the ban.
Those who could travel immediately were being urged to do so because of uncertainty over whether the Justice Department would be granted an emergency freeze of the order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle. The government on Saturday suspended enforcement of the week-old ban as it scurried to appeal Robart's order.
The Justice Department on Saturday night asked a federal appeals court to set aside a judge's order that temporarily blocked the Trump administration's travel ban. The Justice Department has alerted a court in Washington state that it is appealing the judge's ruling from a day earlier.
The appeal is to be filed Saturday night with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge James Robart temporarily halted a Trump administration executive order that suspended America's refugee program and halted immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
President Donald Trump has lashed out at Robart on Twitter, calling him a "so-called judge."
Rula Aoun, director of the Arab American Civil Rights League in Dearborn, Michigan, said her group is advising people to hurry.
"We're telling them to get on the quickest flight ASAP," said Aoun, whose group filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Detroit asking a judge to declare Trump's immigration order unconstitutional.
Aoun said some people have had to make hard choices, including a Yemeni family expected to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday from Egypt without two of their children.
The father and two of the children are U.S. citizens, the mother has an immigrant visa, but the other two children did not yet have theirs and were left behind with relatives.