At least several passengers from Iran, Iraq and Syria were taken on board of a flight to Los Angeles after passing through security at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Saturday (February 4).
Several major airlines said on Saturday that citizens of the seven mainly Muslim countries banned from the United States by President Donald Trump could resume boarding US-bound flights, after a judge blocked the executive order on Friday (January 3) in Seattle, Washington.The judge's temporary restraining order represents a major setback for Trump's action, though the White House said late on Friday that it believed the ban to be "lawful and appropriate" and that the US Department of Justice would file an emergency appeal.
Although US Customs and Border Protection told airlines they could board travellers who had been affected by the ban just hours after the ruling, some airlines like budget airline Norwegian, which operates transatlantic flights, said many uncertainties remained about the legal position.
Trump's order caused chaos at airports across the United States last week as some citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were denied entry.
Virtually all refugees were also barred, upending the lives of thousands of people who had spent years seeking asylum in the US
The State Department said on Friday that almost 60,000 visas were suspended in the wake of Trump's order; it was not clear on Friday night whether that suspension was automatically revoked or what travellers with such visas might confront at US airports.
The decision in Washington state came at the end of a day of furious legal activity around the country over the immigration ban.
The Trump administration has justified its actions on national security grounds, but opponents have labelled it an unconstitutional order targeting people based on religious beliefs.
A Reuters poll earlier this week indicated that the immigration ban has popular support, with 49 percent of Americans agreeing with the order and 41 percent disagreeing. Some 53 percent of Democrats said they "strongly disagree" with Trump's action while 51 percent of Republicans said they "strongly agree."
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>