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white house press secretary sean spicer says the trump administration is not rethinking its strategy over the president's ban on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly muslim countries from entering the united states. (feb. 6) ap

district judge james robart

a frame grab taken from a video shows u.s. district judge james robart during a hearing in seattle on feb. 3, 2017, debating president trump's travel ban targeting seven majority muslim countries. robart blocked trump's order from being implemented, a ruling that the department of justice is appealing.(p o: u.s. courts handout, epa)

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the legal battle over president trump's temporary travel ban targeting seven majority-muslim countries likely will take weeks to resolve and could require the supreme court to make the final decision. but the arguments challenging and defending the executive order have become clear.

the justice department argues that a president has broad powers to act unilaterally on questions of immigration and national security. it says judges have only limited powers to second-guess such decisions and urges the court to allow trump's immigration order to go back into effect.

opponents concede that a president has some power on his own, but they say trump overstepped that by banning people from specific countries and of the muslim religion. they contend he violated core principles of the constitution and ignored laws p ed by congress.

trump's order, signed jan. 27 at the pentagon, instituted a 120-day ban on refugees entering the u.s. and a 90-day ban for most citizens of libya, iraq, iran, somalia, sudan and yemen. the order also indefinitely barred any syrians from entering the u.s. he said his goal was to improve background checks to make sure terrorists are not admitted inadvertently.

the order was blocked by u.s. district judge james robart in seattle on friday while the challenge plays out in court. the government appealed to the u.s. court of appeals for the 9th circuit, based in san francisco, seeking to reinstate the ban while the case progresses. a three-judge panel of that court will hear arguments by telephone tuesday afternoon and could rule shortly thereafter. then the supreme court could get involved.

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travel ban: how we got here and what is next

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experts question legality of trump's immigration ban on muslim countries

government's argument

the justice department's pitch, first made early sunday morning at the district court level in washington state and amplified late monday to the appeals court, is that trump has both constitutional and legal authority in matters of national security dating back at least to 1952.

"the state asks the courts to take the extraordinary step of second-guessing a formal national security judgment made by the president himself pursuant to broad grants of statutory authority," it argues in its latest brief.

justice department lawyers say most of those affected by the ban have never entered the united states before. such a person, they say, "requests a privilege and has no constitutional rights" under a 1982 supreme court ruling. if anyone should get relief from trump's order, the brief says, it should be "previously admitted aliens who are temporarily abroad now or who wish to travel and return to the united states in the future."

the government relies on the immigration and nationality act of 1952, which gave the president the power to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals if he determines their entry "would be detrimental to the interests of the united states."

to back up the claim, its district court brief lists eight instances dating back to president ronald reagan in 1986 when presidents blocked residents of certain nations — such as cuba, libya, russia, somalia and yemen — from being granted admission to the u.s.

beyond the constitutional and legal arguments, the administration also maintains that states such as washington and minnesota lack standing to bring their challenge because — unlike would-be immigrants and refugees — they are not subject to the travel ban.

having claimed presidential authority and questioned the states’ arguments, government lawyers also criticize robart’s ruling as "vastly overbroad" because it applies nationwide, even though a federal judge in m achusetts upheld the executive order in a separate, more limited case.

president trump speaks to members of military during

president trump speaks to members of military during his first visit to the headquarters of the u.s. central command at macdill air force base in tampa, fla., on feb. 6, 2017.

 (p o: borchuck, james, ap)

ban opponents' argument

the challenge to trump's order is being led by the attorneys general from washington state and minnesota, with help from arguments filed by a broad ranges of groups, including 16 other states and the district of columbia, two former secretaries of state, three former cia directors, 97 tech companies and 284 law professors.

in a joint filing, the attorneys general concede that the 1952 law does give broad powers to a president to enforce immigration laws in the u.s. but they say trump's executive order goes far beyond the legal limitations originally enshrined in the constitution and later enacted by congress.

they say the 1952 powers given to a president were limited by a 1965 law that prohibits discrimination against immigrants based on their country of origin. they say trump's national security arguments are undercut because no one from the countries listed in the travel ban have  committed terrorist acts on u.s. soil.

"though (the order) cites the attacks of september 11, 2001, as a rationale, it imposes no restrictions on people from the countries whose nationals carried out those attacks," they say in court papers.

even though the white house has repeatedly said the order does not constitute a "muslim ban," the attorneys general argue that his repeated call for such a ban on the paign trail shows the true intent of his order.

that allegation is bolstered, they say, by the fact that trump's order includes a section giving immigration preference to people who practice a "minority religion" and fear "religious-based persecution" in their countries. the seven countries listed in trump's ban are 97% muslim.

"the sham of a secular purpose is exposed both by the language of the order and defendants’ expressions of anti-muslim intent," they maintain.

and they argue that trump's order violates due process rights established under the fifth amendment. while the administration has said foreigners have few rights to force their way into the country, the attorneys general say longtime, legal residents of the u.s. — those who were detained at u.s. airports or stranded abroad by trump's order — have every right to do so.

"a temporary absence from the country does not deprive longtime residents of their right to due process," they say.

sabita manian and her husband brad bollock hold signs

sabita manian and her husband brad bollock hold signs and protest during a march against president trump's immigration policies in lynchburg, va. feb, 5, 2017. 

jay westcott, ap
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anti-trump protests in houston near the super bowl

anti-trump protests in houston near the super bowl site, feb. 5, 2017.  

josh peters, usa today sports
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supporters of president donald trump hold a rally near

supporters of president donald trump hold a rally near trump tower in new york, feb. 5, 2017.  

bryan r. smith, afp/getty images
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anti-trump protesters shout at supporters of president

anti-trump protesters shout at supporters of president trump during a rally in new york, feb, 5, 2017.  

bryan r. smith, afp/getty images
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cynthia hudson holds a sign during a protest against

cynthia hudson holds a sign during a protest against president trump's immigration policies in lynchburg, va. feb. 5, 2017.  

jay westcott
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*** bestpix *** washington, dc - february 04: people

people hold candles during a vigil in front of the lincoln memorial on feb. 4, 2017 in washington, d.c. the vigil was held in solidarity with protests against president  trump's travel ban. 

zach gibson, getty images
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protesters hold signs during a rally organised by the

protesters hold signs during a rally by the international migrants alliance to protest against president trump and his recent immigration and refugee restrictions, outside the u.s. consulate in hong g on feb. 5, 2017. 

isaac lawrence, afp/getty images
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palm beach, fl - february 04: people protest against

people protest against president trump at the entrance to the mar-a-lago resort where he is staying for the weekend on feb. 4, 2017, in palm beach, fla. 

joe raedle, getty images
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demonstrators holding placards march in central london

demonstrators holding placards march in central london during a protest against us president donald trump on february 4, 2017.  

niklas halle'n, afp/getty images
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demonstrators holding placards take part in a protest

demonstrators holding placards take part in a protest against us president donald trump outside the us emb y in london on february 4, 2017. 

niklas halle'n, afp/getty images
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people hold a banner reading "make america hate again"

people hold a banner reading "make america hate again" during a gathering to protest u.s. president donald trump's recent travel ban to the u.s. at trocadero plaza next to the eiffel tower in paris, urday, feb. 4, 2017. people gathered to protest trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven muslim-majority countries from entering the u.s. and suspending the nation's refugee program. 

kamil zihnioglu, ap
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muslim activists hold posters depicting u.s. president

muslim activists hold posters depicting u.s. president donald trump during a protest outside the u.s. emb y in jakarta, indonesia on feb. 4, 2017. dozens of students and activists from several rights groups staged the protest calling on the indonesian government and the international community to help stop trump's order that temporarily banned travelers from seven predominantly muslim countries.  

dita alangkara, ap
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people take part in a demonstration against us president

people take part in a demonstration against us president donald j. trump in central london on february 4, 2017. 

sean dempsey, european pressp o agency
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people take part in a demonstration against us president

people take part in a demonstration against us president donald j. trump in london.  

sean dempsey, european pressp o agency
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filipino protestors burn a portrait of us president

filipino protestors burn a portrait of us president donald j. trump during a protest rally at the us emb y in manila, philippines. the protesters showed opposition to the refusal of administration of us president donald j. trump to accept the entry of immigrants from syria, libya, iraq, somalia, iran, sudan, and yemen. 

francis r. malasig, european pressp o agency
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a protester holds a plaque with a portrait of trump

a protester holds a plaque with a portrait of trump reading 'nope' which resembles shepard fairey's poster of former us president obama during an anti trump rally in front of the brandenburg gate in berlin, germany. many people demonstrated in berlin against us president trump's ban on travel for muslims from various regions.  

clemens bilan, european pressp o agency
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a indonesian muslim activist speaks through a megaphone

a indonesian muslim activist speaks through a megaphone during a protest against us president donald j. trump in front of the us emb y in jakarta, indonesia. dozens of indonesian protesters gathered to demonstrate against trump's controversial executive order banning the us from taking in people from muslim-majority countries. 

bagus indahono, european pressp o agency
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protestors and lgbt activists march toward the white

protestors and lgbt activists march toward the white house after rallying outside of trump international el, february 3, 2017 in washington, dc. the protest was organized by the group 'werk for peace,' and they aimed to let president trump know 'discrimination, bigotry, and hate are not tolerated in our country.'  

drew angerer, getty images
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protestors write messages directed toward president

protestors write messages directed toward president donald trump on lanterns near the washington monument, february 3, 2017 in washington, dc. the protest is aimed at president trump's travel ban policy.  

drew angerer, getty images
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people protest president trump's executive order during

people protest president trump's executive order during a refugee vigil at the coleman park community center in antioch, tenn.  

andrew nelles, the tennessean, via usa today network
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demonstrators protest president trump's executive immigration

demonstrators protest president trump's executive immigration order on feb. 1, 2017 in chicago, illinois.  

joshua lott, afp/getty images
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from left, asli ali, 39, of woodburn, dana bliss, 56,

from left, asli ali, 39, of woodburn, dana bliss, 56, and kristen wilson, 58, attend an immigrant and refugee rights rally at oregon state capitol on feb. 1, 2017 in salem, oregon. 

anna reed, statesman journal, via usa today network
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sloan robbins, 6, of nashville, holds a candle during

sloan robbins, 6, of nashville, holds a candle during a vigil and rally for immigrants and refugees at the coleman park community center in antioch, tenn. 

andrew nelles, the tennessean, usa today network
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people hold placards during a gathering to protest

people hold placards during a gathering to protest president trump's recent travel ban to the u.s., in paris on jan. 31, 2017. 

ian langsdon, european pressp o agency
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americans and other expatriates gather to protest president

americans and other expatriates gather to protest president trump's recent travel ban outside of the u.s. emb y in tokyo on jan. 31, 2017.  

eugene hoshiko, ap
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people hold candles during a vigil at thanksgiving

people hold candles during a vigil at thanksgiving square in downtown dallas on jan. 30, 2017. people gathered to protest against president donald trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven muslim-majority countries from entering the u.s. and suspending the nation's refugee program. 

lm otero, ap
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people rally to protest president trump's recent executive

people rally to protest president trump's recent executive order on immigration in jersey city, n.j. on jan. 30, 2017. 

demitrius balevski, northjersey.com, via usa today networ
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demonstrators hold up signs during a protest outside

demonstrators hold up signs during a protest outside downing street against president trump's ban on travel from seven muslim countries on jan. 30, 2017 in london.  

jack taylor, getty images
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robert may, left, and sarah dizio hold signs in the

robert may, left, and sarah dizio hold signs in the arrivals terminal at san francisco international airport to protest president trump's executive order that bars citizens of seven predominantly muslim-majority countries from entering the u.s. on jan. 30, 2017 in san francisco. 

marcio jose sanchez, ap
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thousands of people protest against the u.s. immigration

thousands of people protest against the u.s. immigration policy of president trump at the united states emb y in ottawa, ontario on jan. 30, 2017. 

fred chartrand, the canadian press, via ap
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demonstrators chant outside the u.s. consulate during

demonstrators chant outside the u.s. consulate during a protest against president trump's executive order banning citizens of seven majority-muslim countries from entering the united states in toronto on jan. 30, 2017. 

frank gunn, the canadian press, via ap
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protestors gather outside 10 downing street in london

protestors gather outside 10 downing street in london on jan. 30, 2017. thousands of demonstrators gathered in london to protest president trump's controversial executive order. 

facundo arrizabalaga, european pressp o agency
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demonstrators march from the mound to the scottish

demonstrators march from the mound to the scottish parliament to protest against president trump's muslim travel ban on jan. 30, 2017 in edinburgh, scotland.  

mark runnacles, getty images
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a group of people, including employees of the washington

a group of people, including employees of the washington state attorney general's office, listen in the back of a briefing room during a news conference on jan. 30, 2017, in seattle. attorney general bob ferguson announced that he is suing president donald trump over an executive order that suspended immigration from seven countries with majority-muslim populations and sparked nationwide protests. 

ted s. warren, ap
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people stand outside of sen. roy blunt's office in

people stand outside of sen. roy blunt's office in springfield, mo. to protestpresident trump's recent executive order on immigration on jan. 30, 2017. 

andrew jansen, news-leader, via usa today
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andy sun, of springfield, mo, along with other protestors

andy sun, of springfield, mo, along with other protestors stands outside of sen. roy blunt's office to protest president trump's recent executive order on immigration. 

andrew jansen, news-leader, via usa today
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khulud fidama, 26, of dearborn, mich., stands with

khulud fidama, 26, of dearborn, mich., stands with her family outside the mcnamara terminal at detroit metro airport to speak out against the recent executive order signed by president trump on jan. 29, 2017. 

elaine cromie, detroit free press, via usa today network
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malik i, 12, of dearborn, holds a sign outside the

malik i, 12, of dearborn, holds a sign outside the henry ford centennial library in dearborn to protest the recent executive order signed by president trump.  

elaine cromie, detroit free press, via usa today network
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thousands of people protest president trump's immigration

thousands of people protest president trump's immigration ban on citizens from seven majority-muslim countries outside the white house in washington, dc on january 29, 2017. on january 28, a federal judge in brooklyn temporary blocked the executive ban, which had stranded as many as 200 inbound foreigners at u.s. ports of entry. 

jim lo scalzo, european pressp o agency
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people protest president trump's immigration ban on

people protest president trump's immigration ban on citizens from seven majority-muslim countries outside the white house in washington, d.c. 

jim lo scalzo, european pressp o agency
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demonstrators gather near the white house to protest

demonstrators gather near the white house to protest president trump's travel ban on seven muslim countries on january 29, 2017 in washington. president trump signed the controversial executive order that halted refugees and residents from predominantly muslim countries from entering the united states.  

zach gibson, getty images
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demonstrators gather near the white house to protest

demonstrators gather near the white house to protest president trump's travel ban on seven muslim countries. 

zach gibson, getty images
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people gather in copley square to protest the muslim

people gather in copley square to protest the immigration ban enacted by president trump on january 29, 2017. urday night, two federal judges issued a temporary emergency order halting part of the ban.  

darren mccollester, getty images
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 people gather in copley square to protest the muslim

people gather in copley square to protest the immigration ban enacted by president trump. 

darren mccollester, getty images
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people gather in copley square to protest the muslim

people gather in copley square in boston to protest the immigration ban enacted by president trump.  

darren mccollester, getty images
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people gather in copley square to protest the muslim

people gather in copley square in boston to protest the immigration ban enacted by president trump on january 29, 2017. 

darren mccollester, getty images
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senator liz warren (d-ma) speaks to people gathered

senator liz warren (d-m .) speaks to people gathered in copley square in boston to protest the immigration ban enacted by president trump.  

darren mccollester, getty images
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people attend an afternoon rally in battery park to

people attend an afternoon rally in battery park in new york to protest president trump's immigration policies.  

spencer platt, getty images
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people attend an afternoon rally in battery park to

people attend an afternoon rally in battery park to protest president trump's new immigration policies. 

spencer platt, getty images
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thousands of protesters crowd philadelphia international

thousands of protesters crowd philadelphia international airport sunday to speak out against the president's temporary ban on refugees from seven muslim-majority countries.  

suchat pederson, the news journal via usa today network
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thousands of protesters cheer as a car drives by in

thousands of protesters cheer as a car drives by in support of their protest at philadelphia international airport.  

suchat pederson, the news journal via usa today network
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demonstrators protest against president trump's executive

demonstrators protest against president trump's executive immigration ban at chicago o'hare international airport on january 28, 2017. president donald trump signed the controversial executive order that halted refugees and residents from predominantly muslim countries from entering the united states. 

joshua lott, afp/getty images
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sergio martinez, center, a teacher at sparks elementary

sergio martinez, center, a teacher at sparks elementary school in la puente, calif., joins hundreds of others as california educators voice their opposition to president trump's nomination of betsy devos as secretary of education, at a california teachers ociation meeting in los angeles on jan. 28, 2017.  

reed saxon, ap
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demonstrators gather outside the federal courthouse

demonstrators gather outside the federal courthouse in milwaukee on january 28, 2017, to protest the executive order signed by president trump that bans refugees from seven nations.  

bill glauber, milwaukee journal-sentinel via ap
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people gather outside of the us district court in new

people gather outside of the us district court in new york, where a judge issued an emergency stay for those detained at airports on january 28, 2017. 

andrew gombert, european pressp o agency
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people gather outside of the us district court in new

people gather outside of the u.s. district court in new york, where a judge issued an emergency stay for those detained at airports on january 28, 2017.  

andrew gombert, european pressp o agency
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anti-trump protestors fill the international hall inside

anti-trump protestors fill the international hall inside the philadelphia international airport on january 28, 2017. 

joe lamberti, courier-post via usa today network
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area muslims and local immigration activists participate

area muslims and local immigration activists participate in a prayer and rally against president trump's immigration policies in new york. 

spencer platt, getty images
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isaias juarez with his daughter's anarhu joins a gathering

isaias juarez with his daughter's anarhu joins a gathering in downtown durham, n.c., friday, to show their support for refugees and immigrants and stand against president trump's plan to ban refugees of muslim countries. 

bernard thomas, the herald-sun via ap
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muslims and immigration activists participate in a

muslims and immigration activists participate in a prayer service and rally in new york city. 

spencer platt, getty images
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cousins shabnaj, left, and taslima choudhury, center,

cousins shabnaj, left, and taslima choudhury, center, of queens, new york, pray during jummah, a muslim prayer service, in foley square. the rally and prayer service sponsored by the new york immigration coalition and the inter-faith clergy of new york city was in support of muslims and immigrants. 

mary altaffer, ap
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people participate in a prayer service and rally against

people participate in a prayer service and rally against president trump's immigration policies in new york. 

spencer platt, getty images
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hundreds of people gathered in downtown durham, n.c.,

hundreds of people gathered in downtown durham, n.c., to show their support for refugees and immigrants and stand against president trump's plan to ban refugees of muslim countries. 

bernard thomas, ap
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women listen to a speaker as people rally against president

women listen to a speaker as people rally against president trump's immigration policies in new york. 

spencer platt, getty images
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a view from the downtown rally in durham, n.c., friday,

a view from the downtown rally in durham, n.c., friday, to show their support for refugees and immigrants and stand against president trump's plan to ban refugees of muslim countries. 

bernard thomas, ap
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people gather for an interfaith rally to show support

people gather for an interfaith rally to show support for the muslim and immigrant communities in new york. the rally was organized in response to proposed actions by president trump. 

justin lane, epa
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people gather in durham, n.c., to show their support

people gather in durham, n.c., to show their support for refugees and immigrants. 

bernard thomas, ap
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people listen during an interfaith rally, friday, in

people listen during an interfaith rally in foley square to show support for the muslim and immigrant communities. 

jusin lane, epa
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people rally, friday, to show support for the muslim

people rally to show support for the muslim and immigrant communities in new york. 

justin lane, epa
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