Trump defends immigration order as courts put some deportations on hold

After a night of growing protests at major airports around the United States, President Donald Trump on Sunday strongly defended his new executive order on immigration and the need for "extreme vetting" of refugees, as the legal and political fight intensified over the details of his plan, which was partially put on hold by a series of federal judges.

"Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW," the President said Sunday morning on Twitter.

Mr. Trump's declaration came hours after several federal judges ruled that people who had arrived in the U.S. with legal documents - but had been detained under the new executive order - could not be deported immediately by U.S. authorities.

"The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and others similarly situated violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution," wrote Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York.

Donnelly specifically said that "individuals from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen" who have been "legally authorized" to enter the United States, could not be deported by U.S. authorities.

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Credit: Jamie Dupree

"This temporary stay means people detained at airports will not be deported," said the National Immigration Law Center, which had joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to offer legal aid to those who had been detained - even though they had legal documents to enter the country.

Overnight, the Department of Homeland Security weighed in, saying that while DHS will abide by court orders, the feds will continue to enforce Mr. Trump's new directive.

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Credit: Jamie Dupree

The fight over the Trump immigration order escalated quickly on Saturday at a number of major airports, as thousands converged on JFK in New York, Dulles outside Washington - as dozens of lawyers arrived to offer their services to families who might have someone caught in immigration limbo.

It resulted in cheering scenes like this when people were released:

The legal fight was also accelerating through the night, as more petitions were made to release people - with legal entry documents - who had been detained at major airports like JFK.

Here are some of the eleven petitions filed from those at JFK:

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Part of the legal action came on behalf of Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi refugee who had assisted the U.S. military in Iraq; he was held at JFK airport outside New York, until being released on Saturday.

More protests were expected through the day on Sunday, as Mr. Trump's immigration order swiftly became an early lightning rod of his administration.