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Trump ramps up criticism of judge after travel ban setback

US President Donald Trump has attacked the judge who blocked his travel ban, saying Americans should blame the courts “if something happens”.

Mr Trump also said he had instructed border officials to check people entering America “very carefully”.

The federal appeals court on Saturday rejected the Trump administration’s request to reinstate the ban.

The ban, affecting people from seven mainly-Muslim countries, was blocked by Seattle’s federal judge on Friday.

This means that Mr Trump’s directive will remain suspended and visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be allowed to enter the US until the full case has been heard.

The White House and two US states challenging the ban have been given a deadline of Monday to present more arguments.

World reacts to Trump order

President Trump on Sunday ramped up his criticism of Judge James Robart, who blocked the ban, and the country’s judiciary.

In a series of tweets, Mr Trump said: “I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

The president earlier called Judge Robart’s ruling “ridiculous”, described him as a “so-called judge”.

US border checks

All persons arriving at a US port of entry are inspected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers

Visitors must have valid US visas or hold ‘Green Cards’ that authorise them to live and work in the US permanently

Travellers under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorisation via ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before their visit

Visitors must complete declaration forms

Travellers may have their fingerprints and photos taken

CBP officers may also ask to inspect luggage or personal items

CBP uses biometric technologies to verify travellers’ identities

Travellers from certain countries can use Automated Passport Control (APC)

In its appeal, the justice department said Judge Robart had overreached by “second guessing” the president on a national security matter.

It also argued that only the president could decide who can enter or stay in the US.

The two states challenging the restriction – Washington and Minnesota – argued that the ban was unconstitutional and denied people with valid entry documents the right to travel without due process. It also violated freedom of religion rights by appearing to target Muslims, they said.

What happens now – BBC’s Anthony Zurcher, Washington

The next step is for briefs to be filed by both sides for a formal review of Judge Robart’s suspension on Monday. The Justice Department could have appealed directly to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis, but it chose not to since the appeal court is moving fairly quickly.

If the appeal court decides the stay is valid – perhaps as early as next week – then a Supreme Court appeal is almost certain.

In the meantime, everything is on hold. US immigration processes continue as they did before Mr Trump issued his executive order.

If it looks like this is bogging down, the president might eventually decide to modify the order rather than try to defend its legality. That’s probably the most prudent course, but he’s a stubborn man.

Democrats and some Republicans have criticised Mr Trump’s comments about the country’s judiciary.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Mr Trump seemed “intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis”.

Meanwhile, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told CNN it was “best to avoid criticising judges individually”.

Judge Robart has served on the federal bench since 2004 after nomination by President George W Bush.

Friday’s ruling has also seen visa holders from the affected nations scramble to get flights to the US, fearing they have a slim window to enter.

The State Department has been reversing visa cancellations and US homeland security employees have been told by their department to comply with the ruling.

The ban caused confusion at US and foreign airports when it came into force.

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