On Friday, a district court judge in Seattle issued a nationwide stay on Donald Trump’s likely unconstitutional immigrant ban. This did what other similar orders from other judges had not been able to: Get Donald Trump to obey the rule of law.
The end political result was the president of the United States going on a Twitter temper tantrum on Saturday describing the federal judge who decided the case as a “so-called judge,” along with the immediate—at least temporary—halt to the travel ban.
The real-world effect, though, is something much bigger. The state department had estimated some 60,000 people had seen their visas secretly revoked as part of Trump’s travel ban. Hundreds had already been barred from entering the United States within the ban’s first days. Now that the ban has been lifted, these people will have their visas recognized as legitimate, as they always should have been, and be allowed to enter the country.
A large group of them are more than 200 Yemenis with U.S. visas who have been trapped in Djibouti since Trump issued the ban on Jan. 27. Many of these people had had their passports and visas withheld from them at the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, even after a Los Angeles judge issued a court order commanding that embassy to return them. On Saturday, some of these people got their visas. This is what that looked like.
That was footage—given to Slate by the attorney in that Los Angeles case, Julie Goldberg—of trapped Yemeni immigrants being given their illegally withheld visas.
Contrast that with two days earlier on Thursday, when others in that group had attempted to collect their visas, which on Tuesday a judge had commanded foreign service officials to hand over. This is what that looked like.
That was footage—also given to Slate by Goldberg—of U.S. citizens telling stories of being kicked off of U.S. soil as they attempted to get U.S. officials to abide by a court order and return the visas of these Americans’ loved ones. Now those families will be coming home, to the United States.
And this is what American Democracy looks like: A federal judge upholding the rule of law, the executive branch finally obeying the rule of law, and this country embracing its stated ideals by welcoming in immigrants rather than discriminating against them based on their religion.