US District Judge Derrick Watson on Friday converted the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction, which can lead to a permanent halt of the travel ban unless the US Supreme Court restore’s it.
On Tuesday, Watson issued a nationwide order blocking the third version of Trump’s controversial travel ban, calling it discriminatory and in breach of immigration law.
Watson’s ruling applies only to the six Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Chad, although the ban, announced in September, also limits travel from Venezuela and North Korea.
A federal judge in Maryland also blocked the travel ban on Wednesday. The Trump administration is expected to appeal the rulings to the Supreme Court.
Trump has said the restrictions are needed to tighten security and prevent terrorist attacks. Opponents say the ban violates the US Constitution because it discriminates against Muslims and certain nationalities.
During the 2016 presidential race, Trump campaigned for "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States on the pretext of preventing terrorist attacks.
Trump has issued three travel bans since coming to office in January. His third ban was announced September 24 and was slated to take effect on October 18.
Trump issued his third temporary travel ban to replace the second order, which will expire on October 27.
In June, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate parts of the second travel ban, after months of legal battle between the government and some states in federal courts.