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Sun 29 Jan 2017 09:44 AM

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Judge allows travellers who landed in US with visas to stay in country

Passengers who have been detained or landed at US airports with valid visas are allowed to stay, federal judge rules

Judge allows travellers who landed in US with visas to stay in country
President Donald Trump signs three executive actions in the Oval Office on January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. The actions outline a reorganisation of the National Security Council, implement a five year lobbying ban on administration officials and a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for a foreign country and calls on military leaders to present a report to the president in 30 days that outlines a strategy for defeating ISIS. (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sparked outrage but hit a roadblock late on Saturday when a federal judge said stranded travellers could stay in the country.

The emergency court ruling was cheered at Boston's Logan International Airport, one of several major US airports where protesters angry with Trump's order gathered.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sought the temporary stay, said it would help 100 to 200 people with valid visas or refugee status who found themselves detained in transit or at US airports after Trump signed the order late on Friday.

It was a dramatic end to Trump's first week in office, capped by the Republican president's four-month ban on refugees entering the United States and a 90-day hold on travellers from Syria and six other countries.

Trump had promised during his campaign what he called "extreme vetting" of immigrants and refugees to try to prevent terror attacks.

He told reporters in the White House's Oval Office earlier on Saturday that his order was "not a Muslim ban" and said the measures were long overdue.

Protestors rally during a demonstration against the Muslim immigration ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 28, 2017 in New York City. President Trump signed the controversial executive order that halted refugees and residents from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. (Getty Images)

"It's working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over," Trump said. The White House could not be immediately reached for comment on the emergency court ruling.

Senior officials at the US Department of Homeland Security told reporters they had not seen the ruling, but said the government would implement any appropriate orders.

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