The US justice department has defended President Donald Trump’s travel ban and urged an appeals court to reinstate it in the interests of national security.

A 15-page brief argued it was a “lawful exercise of the president’s authority” and not a ban on Muslims.

The executive order temporarily banned entry for all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries.

A hearing has been set for today on whether to allow or reject the ban.

The filing was made to the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in response to the halting of Mr. Trump’s order on Friday by a federal judge in Washington State. The judge had ruled the ban was unconstitutional and harmful to the state’s interests.

As a result, people from the seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – with valid visas were able to travel to the US again.

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