A federal judge in Los Angeles has ordered the US government to allow people holding immigrant visas from seven Muslim-majority nations into the United States despite President Trump's executive order banning them. In a temporary restraining order, Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ordered the government not to cancel any validly obtained immigrant visas or bar anyone from the seven nations holding them from entering the US, the AP reports. But it's unclear whether the order will have any effect. The State Department ordered all visas from the seven countries revoked on Friday, and the government has maintained that orders similar to Birotte's do not apply because the visas are no longer valid.
The State Department declined comment Wednesday on Birotte's order, saying it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Stacey Gartland, a San Francisco attorney who represents a 12-year-old Yemeni girl whose parents and siblings are US citizens living in California, acknowledges that her client and hundreds of others with immigrant visas still may not be allowed in the US under Birotte's order, but she says she's optimistic. "This court order is a major victory and definitely gives us a path forward," Gartland says. "It's just a matter of getting it into the right hands of someone who'll obey the court order." She says her client and dozens of other Yemeni citizens with US visas are stranded in the tiny African nation of Djibouti. (Read more Trump travel ban stories.)