A court in San Francisco is to hear the US Justice Department's arguments over whether the entry ban should be restored. The order, which temporarily bars people from seven Muslim-majority states, is currently on hold.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco set the hearing for Tuesday afternoon (US time) to receive oral arguments by the Justice Department and two states challenging US President Donald Trump's immigration ban.
The block, which came into force on January 27, was put on ice after a District judge in Seattle ruled it was illegal - a decision reinforced by a court in San Francisco.
In a legal filing following the suspension, the US Justice Department defended its enactment, saying: "The executive order is a lawful exercise of the president's authority over the entry of aliens into the United States and the admission of refugees."
The Department also argued that individual states did not have standing to challenge immigration law, which is a matter for the national government.
States reject ban
Lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota argued in their brief that the travel ban caused "extraordinary and irreparable harm" to residents and businesses and violated the Constitution's ban against religious discrimination.
"President Trump unleashed chaos by signing the executive order at issue here," lawyers wrote. Restoring the ban "would reinstitute those harms, separating families, stranding our university students and faculty and barring travel."
The new Republican president has said the entry restrictions are to protect the country against the threat of terrorism. The 90-day ban bars entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and imposes a 120-day halt to all refugees.
Curbing entry to the US as a national security measure was a central premise of Trump's election campaign, but the decision has been denounced by other world leaders, defense officials, diplomats, rights groups and business leaders.
Lengthy legal case
The court is not expected to rule directly on the constitutionality of the ban, but only to focus narrowly on whether it should be halted as it winds its way through the US legal system.
The losing side is almost certain to ask for further judicial review at the Supreme Court in Washington.
Trump came under renewed criticism over the weekend when he took to Twitter to blast the judge who put his travel ban on hold.
mm/jm (dpa, Reuters)