A timeline of Trump's immigration executive order and legal challenges

Key dates in the roll-out of Trump's immigration executive order.

June 29, 2017, 12:22 PM

— -- President Donald Trump's controversial executive order to temporarily ban travel to the U.S. by refugees and immigrants from some majority-Muslim countries previously sparked protests across the nation, and may do so once again now that it is set to go into partial effect this evening.

Here's a recap of how the executive order and the subsequent legal challenges against it were rolled out.

Friday, Jan. 27

At 4:39 p.m. on Friday at the Pentagon, Trump signed an executive order that promised to keep "radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America."

The order, named "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," took immediate effect to bar admission to the U.S. of all people with non-immigrant or immigrant visas from seven countries -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- for 90 days. It also barred entry to all refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days and placed an indefinite ban on refugees from war-torn Syria.

Hours after Trump signed his order, the public had not yet seen documents that described exactly how airports and government officials around the world would implement the new rules.

At 6:58 p.m., the order was distributed to the White House press list.

Saturday, Jan. 28

Two brothers with Iraqi visas, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq, landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City overnight. The Department of Homeland Security immediately detained the two men, following the guidance of Trump’s executive order.

The two men worked for the United States military in Iraq and were granted special visas as a result of their service, but despite going through the standard security checks, they were held by Customs and Border Protection at the airport. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a writ of habeas corpus at the Brooklyn Federal Court on their behalf.

At 7 p.m. on Saturday night, Customs and Border Protection released the men.

Throughout the day, though, outrage brewed in airports across the country where people gathered to protest the executive order. "Hey ho! Muslim ban has got to go!" some of the protesters chanted.

People interpreted Trump’s immigration order as a ban on people of the Muslim faith. Trump, appearing at another executive order signing in the Oval Office, disagreed.

"It’s not a Muslim ban," he said, adding that, "in the airports, it’s working out very nicely."

Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees and immigrants -- caught in communications limbo between the White House and the Department of Homeland Security -- remained at airports from coast to coast.

On Saturday night, Judge Ann Donnelly of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that people stuck in airports nationwide could not be forced back to their original destinations, writing that individuals subjected to the order could face "substantial and irreparable injury."

Sunday, Jan. 29

On Sunday morning, the White House faced backlash from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Republican Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, called the executive order a "self-inflicted wound" that "may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, teared up as he demanded Trump to rescind the "mean spirited and un-American" order.

Federal lawsuits were filed in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington on behalf of travelers who were detained in airports in the United States. In airports overseas, many people hoping to come to the United States were turned away.

As public outcry amplified, the White House still appeared to be working out details of the executive order. On "Meet the Press," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that the order did not apply to green card holders, adding to the confusion.

Despite the stay issued in Brooklyn Federal Court, the White House maintained that the order remained in place.

"It is the right and duty of the President to do everything in his legal and Constitutional power to protect the American people. Saturday’s ruling does not undercut the President's executive order," the White House said in a statement. "All stopped visas will remain stopped. All halted admissions will remain halted. All restricted travel will remain prohibited. The executive order is a vital action toward strengthening America’s borders, and therefore sovereignty. The order remains in place."

Later Sunday evening, the White House said that "legal permanent residents are exempt from the travel restrictions in the new executive order," referring to green card holders.

Monday, Jan. 30

Trump tweeted on Monday morning, "Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage..."

He continued in another tweet, "... protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!"

On Capitol Hill, Republican leaders sounded exasperated by the executive order’s haphazard rollout and the administration's lack of communication between major agencies.

"It should have been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and all of the affected agencies. I think then a lot of the obvious problems with it would have been identified," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Seattle citing examples of residents impacted by the ban. The lawsuit included a separate emergency motion for a nationwide, temporary restraining order that would bar the enforcement of parts of Trump’s executive order.

Friday, Feb. 3

U.S. Federal District Judge James Robart issued a restraining order on Friday to immediately halt Trump’s executive order nationwide, allowing travel to proceed as it did before the executive order was enacted.

The same day, Hawaii filed a lawsuit asking the court to block implementation of the executive order.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Late on Saturday, the Department of Justice filed an appeal to Judge Robart’s restraining order with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The Trump administration argued that the president is acting within his authority and that the ruling by Robart "second-guesses the President's national security judgment."

Sunday, Feb. 5

Early Sunday morning, the Ninth Circuit Court rejected the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay on the restraining order. The court asked for briefings from both parties to be filed on Monday by 6 p.m. before it makes a decision on the case.

Monday, Feb. 6

In a brief filed on Monday morning, Washington state and Minnesota argued that the executive order causes "irreparable harm" to businesses, schools, family relations and state residents’ freedom to travel and is unconstitutional because it discriminates on the basis of religion. Fifteen other states joined in support of Minnesota and Washington, along with leaders of the tech world from Google, Facebook and Apple, in addition to the ACLU.

The Department of Justice, in a brief filed just before the 6 p.m. deadline, said the travel restrictions are a matter of national security and the administration was excluding people from countries with ties to terrorism, not people of a certain religion.

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry joined former national security and foreign affairs officials, including Leon Panetta, Janet Napolitano, Lisa Monaco and Michael Hayden, and wrote a declaration to the appeals court that "there is no national security purpose for a total bar on entry for aliens from the seven named countries," adding that as a national security issue, the executive order was "ill-conceived, poorly implemented, ill-explained."

Tuesday, Feb. 7

On Tuesday evening, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments from Justice Department lawyers and attorneys for the states of Washington and Minnesota. The hearing allowed each side to give 30-minute arguments.

After listening to both sides, the three federal judges -- Judge William C. Canby Jr., appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Judge Michelle Friedland, appointed by President Barack Obama, and Judge Richard R. Clifton, appointed by President George W. Bush -- will decide the fate of Trump’s travel ban.

Thursday, Feb. 9

On Thursday evening, those three federal judges unanimously ruled to deny the Department of Justice’s bid for an emergency stay.

In its unanimous decision, the judicial panel indicated that President Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail about implementing a ban on Muslims entering the United States if he was elected was a factor in their decision. The judges also held that the government failed to provide evidence that nationals from the seven affected countries had carried out attacks on U.S. soil.

“We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay,” the panel, from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in the decision Thursday.

Department of Justice lawyers argued that the order was made on national security grounds and that Washington District Court Judge James Robart’s issuance of a temporary restraining order pausing the ban nationwide was “overbroad.”

Following the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court, the Department of Justice issued a statement saying they are “reviewing the decision and considering its options.” They have no further comment at this time.

In brief remarks to a small group of reporters waiting outside White House press secretary Sean Spicer's office, Trump called the Ninth Circuit’s ruling a “political decision” and said he looks forward to challenging the ruling in court. Trump cautioned that he was concerned about the security of the nation, yet he was confident in his administration’s case. “We’ll win the case,” he said.

“We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake, and it’s a very, very serious situation and so we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court,” the president said.

Monday, Feb. 20

With word having already emerged that the White House is working on a revised order, new reporting indicates that the latest ban will not include travel restrictions on Lawful Permanent Residents from the affected countries who hold green cards in the U.S., as well as dual citizens.

"The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision," said Trump on Feb. 16.

An administration official says that Trump will sign the new order "by the end of the week."

Thursday, Feb. 23

After a federal judge in New York ordered the government to turn over a list of travelers affected by the first executive order, it emerges that 746 were "detained or processed" during the 26-hour period after Donnelly ruled that travelers could not be forced back to their original destinations on Jan. 28.

Both Trump and Spicer had previously maintained that "only 109" were "detained and held" or "stopped" for "additional screening" or "questioning."

Wednesday, March 1

Despite multiple government officials telling ABC News that the new order will be signed that day, March 1 came and went without its emergence.

However, officials noted that the revised ban would not include a blanket restriction on travelers from Iraq, as the first order did. Sources said that Secretaries of Defense, State and Homeland Security James Mattis, Rex Tillerson and John Kelly all voiced opposition to Iraq's inclusion, noting the assistance of Iraqis who served alongside U.S. personnel in Iraq.

Officials also indicated that the second order would not take effect immediately, allowing law enforcement officials additional time to prepare for its implementation.

Monday, March 6

Trump signed the new executive order entitled, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."

The revised order officially revoked the first travel ban as of the start of the new order, 10 days from its signing on March 16. Immigration was suspended from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 90 days following the order's implementation, but Iraq was removed from the list.

The second draft signed by Trump also removed the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and allowed for entry by those already in possession of a valid visa to enter the country, no matter their origin.

Wednesday, March 8

The state of Hawaii became the first state to challenge the revised executive order, setting into motion another round of legal challenges over the plan.

“This second executive order is infected with the same legal problems as the first order -- undermining bedrock constitutional and statutory guarantees,” the state claimed in its court filing.

The state alleged that the travel ban causes “immediate damage” to its economy and educational institutions and signaled an intention to seek a temporary restraining order to halt the ban before it took effect.

Wednesday, March 15

A week after Hawaii filed its case, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order that prevented the travel ban from taking effect the following day. After hearing arguments earlier in the day, Watson wrote that "there was significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation" of both the revised order and the original.

The judge further noted that "a reasonable, objective observer … would conclude" that the ban "was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion."

Speaking at a campaign-style rally in Nashville, Trump called the decision "an unprecedented judicial overreach" and a ruling made for "political reasons."

Saying that the latest executive order was "watered-down" and "tailored" to the objections raised by the previous version, Trump lambasted the court and said, "This ruling makes us look weak."

Thursday, March 16

In an additional case, a judge in Maryland handed down a nationwide preliminary injunction on part of the executive order.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland argued the revised order was intended to discriminate against Muslims.

Wednesday, March 29

A federal judge in Hawaii extended the order blocking the travel ban until the state's lawsuit is resolved.

Hawaii State Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that the ban's message is like a "neon sign flashing 'Muslim ban, Muslim ban'" that the government did not turn off.

Hawaii argued two key points about the travel ban: that it discriminates against Muslims and that it will negatively impact the state's tourism industry.

The state argued that extending the temporary order ensures the constitutional rights of American Muslims are vindicated after "repeated stops and starts of the last two months."

But the U.S. government has argued that the travel ban is within its purview because it aids in the country's national security.

Tuesday, June 13

Trump’s second travel ban was still being largely blocked by the courts after the latest decision was handed down Monday, June 12.

The Ninth Circuit Court decided to uphold in large part the injunction on the second iteration of the travel ban, according to the ruling.

This revised version of the executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred people from six majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States for 90 days while the administration reviewed vetting procedures.

A temporary restraining order was placed on this iteration in March in a case filed by the state of Hawaii.

"The president must make a sufficient finding that the entry of these classes of people would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States,'" the June 12 ruling stated.

Monday, June 26

The Supreme Court said that would allow parts of Trump's travel ban to go into effect and that it would hear arguments in the case in October.

The announcement came on the last day of the court's term before summer recess.

In allowing parts of Trump's executive order to take effect, the court narrowed the scope of injunctions that lower courts put on the temporary travel ban.

The Supreme Court allowed implementation of the temporary ban on entry into the U.S. of citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, with an exception for people who have what the court called "any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." That includes foreign nationals with familial connections in the U.S., students who have already been admitted into an American university and workers with existing job offers in the U.S.

For people from the six countries who have such connections, the injunctions put in place by the lower courts were upheld. These individuals will not be barred under the executive order from coming into the U.S.

Wednesday, June 28

The State Department sent guidelines of the definition of "bona fide" connections to U.S. embassies and consulates abroad ahead of the expected partial implementation of the ban, The Associated Press reported.

Applicants from the six listed countries attempting to travel to the United States have to show a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the U.S.

The same distinction is not granted to grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members, according to the cable obtained by the AP. A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed the veracity of the AP report to ABC News.

Thursday, June 29

Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed that the partial travel ban is slated to go into effect at 8:00 p.m. ET this evening.

ABC News' James Hill, Arlette Saenz, Kate Shaw and Jack Date contributed to this report.

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