US states fighting President Trump's controversial order have told an appeals court that restoring the ban would cause considerable harm. Dozens of tech giants, including Facebook and Google, have also voiced opposition.
Plaintiffs representing the US states of Washington and Minnesota said in a brief lodged with the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upholding President Donald Trump's travel ban would "unleash chaos again."
The court was scheduled to begin considering written arguments from both sides on Monday.
The Justice Department is asking the court to immediately restore Trump's executive order, which blocks travelers and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The measure sparked nationwide airport protests and left thousands of people stranded en route to the US.
"The states have detailed at length the harms we suffered under the order," the states' plaintiffs said in their argument.
Restoring the ban "would reinstitute those harms, separating families, stranding our university students and faculty and barring travel," they added.
Trump's January 27 executive order applies to citizens of Syria, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Libya. It also suspends the US refugee programs for 120 days - and indefinitely for Syrians. The White House says the president has the authority to make national security decisions and determine who can enter the country.
But two days after Trump introduced the controversial order, a court in Seattle stayed it. Over the weekend, the San Francisco appeals court denied the administration's request to overturn the ruling. The three-judge panel said the immigration order should be temporarily halted until further arguments could be heard and a final ruling issued. It gave the government and the two states challenging the order - Washington and Minnesota - a Monday deadline for filing briefs.
The losing side is expected to turn to the Supreme Court in Washington for further judicial review.
Democrats, businesses oppose travel ban
A group of prominent Democrats, including former secretaries of state John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, have also filed a brief to the appeals court urging it to continue blocking Trump's travel ban.
"We view the Order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer," they argued, adding that the plan was "ill-conceived, poorly implemented and ill-explained."
Dozens of tech companies have joined the lawsuit against the measure too, among them giants like Google, eBay, Apple and Facebook. They filed their briefs with the court late Sunday, saying that the executive order would harm their businesses and make it more difficult to recruit employees.
They said the ban "hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace."
nm/tj (AP, dpa, AFP)