Judges have rejected Donald Trump’s appeal to have his travel ban immediately reinstated.
Federal Judge James Robart halted the ban on Friday after questioning the constitutionality of the President’s controversial executive order, which blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US and all refugees.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Sunday denied a formal request by the US Department of Justice to lift the ruling.
Instead, it gave the Trump administration until Monday afternoon to file more arguments – and challengers of the ban to respond to the emergency appeal.
Acting solicitor general Noel Francisco had argued on Saturday night that the President’s authority is “largely immune from judicial control” when it comes to deciding who can enter or stay in the US.
The federal government warned thwarting enforcement of the executive order is harming the public and that aliens have “no constitutional rights” to enter the United States.
President Trump, who argues the restrictions are aimed at stopping terrorist attacks in the US, has pledged to overturn the “ridiculous” ruling and even launched a personal attack on Mr Robart, describing him as a so-called judge in a series of ill-tempered tweets.
He has also accused Mr Robart of opening up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart.
Mr Robart was appointed by George W Bush, and it is unusual for a president to attack a member of the judiciary as the US Constitution designates it as a check to the power of the executive branch and Congress.
The President’s decree, signed on 27 January, barred entry for 120 days of any refugees awaiting resettlement.
Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were also banned from the US for 90 days under the strict controls.
The extreme vetting order has sparked anti-Trump protests across the US and abroad, triggered nationwide court challenges and has caused widespread confusion for many foreigners, particularly dual nationals, travelling to the US.
The travel ban has been heavily criticised by human rights campaigners who say the ban is against Muslims – but officials deny this.
This is not Mr Trump’s first public showdown with a member of the legal profession over his order.
Last week he fired the Obama-appointed acting US attorney general Sally Yates after she told justice department lawyers not to enforce his immigration ban.