NEW YORK, N.Y. - As people gathered around the country in protest of President Donald Trump's executive action banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. - a federal judge in New York issued an emergency order temporarily halting the order.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the order Saturday evening after lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a court petition on behalf of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations who were detained at airports across the country as the ban took effect.
The stay bars the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban.
According to Fox News, the ACLU estimates the stay will affect 100 to 200 people detained at U.S. airports or in transit, but government lawyers were not able to confirm an exact number.
Twelve refugees were detained as they came off planes into the U.S. Two members of congress joined hundreds of protesters at the airport, demonstrating against the detentions.
Cheers broke out in a crowd of demonstrators outside a Brooklyn courthouse as the decision, effective nationwide, was announced. The order barred U.S. border agents from removing anyone who arrived in the U.S. with a valid visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
It also covered anyone with an approved refugee application. It was unclear how quickly the order might affect people in detention.
A protest at John F. Kennedy Airport, where 12 refugees were detained Saturday, swelled to more than 2,000 people, including some celebrities. The agency that runs the airport tried to restore order by shutting down the train that runs to airport terminals. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, reversed that decision, saying people had a right to protest. "The people of New York will have their voices heard," he said in a statement.
Protests also turned to celebrations at airports in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Newark, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland, OR.
President Donald Trump said his halt to immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations and ban on refugees was being done in the name of national security. But it was not clear that the measures would help prevent attacks on American soil, and they could wind up emboldening extremists who already view the U.S. as at war with Islam.
Recent high-profile acts of deadly extremist violence have been carried out either by U.S. citizens or by individuals whose families weren't from the nations singled out. And the list of countries doesn't include Saudi Arabia, where most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from, or other places with a more direct link to terrorism in America.
The admissions ban announced Friday also did not directly address a more urgent law enforcement concern: homegrown violent extremists already in the United States who plot their attacks without any overseas connections or contacts.
The executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and bars all immigration for 90 days from Muslim-majority countries with terrorism concerns: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria, a country that's been of particular country to the FBI even though the number of Americans who have looked to travel there to fight with the Islamic State has been dwindling.
The Associated Press and FoxNews.com contributed to this report.