The visa ban is about national security and not against any religion, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said after a US appeals court upheld a decision blocking President Donald Trump's revised executive order imposing a travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations.
President Donald Trump's inability to keep his Twitter fingers in his pockets just helped derail his attempt to enact a ban on travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries.
When Trump issued his first executive order restricting entry into the country on January 27, he presented it as a temporary measure aimed at facilitating better screening procedures.
The March 6 revised order involved banning people from six countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - for 90 days and banning people in the refugee program for 120 days.
"That's right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain unsafe countries, not some politically correct term that won't help us protect our people!"
"In conclusion, the Order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality", wrote the panel. "Further, the order runs afoul of other provisions. that prohibit nationality-based discrimination and require the president to follow a specific process when setting the annual cap on the admission of refugees".
"Indeed, the President recently confirmed his assessment that it is the "countries" that are inherently unsafe, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries who are barred from entry under the President's 'travel ban, '" the judge wrote.
The 9th Circuit also kept blocking Mr Trump's suspension of the U.S. refugee programme.
Spicer told reporters that the White House is reviewing the opinion but maintains the order is "fully lawful".
Trump has vowed to pursue the ban and the dispute may end up being decided in the U.S. supreme court.
A revised executive order announced in March - meant to address the issues raised by the federal judges - deleted Iraq from the list and removed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. But instead it is focused on convincing the Supreme Court to overturn the injunctions against the executive order.
The court cited two previous Supreme Court cases in its conclusion - including one in 1944 involving the containment of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II, an idea that then-Justice Frank Murphy said "falls into the ugly abyss of racism".
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin, who sued to stop the travel ban, said the 9th Circuit ruling "really shows that we have three branches of government and that there are checks and balances". The Supreme Court could act on the administration's request as soon as this week.