A United States federal appeals court on Thursday refused to reinstate the immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries ordered by President Donald Trump. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Trump’s administration had failed to provide evidence justifying the ban on national security grounds, Reuters reported.

However, the court’s ruling only upholds the emergency halt on the ban ordered by a lower court, and is not the overall ruling in the matter. The judges said that while they would need more briefings to decide whether the order specifically discriminated against a particular religion. The states challenging the ban had presented “numerous statements” made by Trump “about his intent to implement a ‘Muslim ban’”. The states of Washington and Minnesota had challenged the order.

Trump later dismissed the ruling, calling it “political”. “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE,” he tweeted. The US Justice Department said it was reviewing the court’s order and considering its options, AP reported. The ruling also came on the day that new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn into Trump’s Cabinet.

While Trump had defended the move as “not a Muslim ban”, the restrictions brought in by his executive order has wreaked havoc on immigrant families, especially those with valid visas. Protests were launched across the country, including at airports, against the immigration ban. It has been criticised by several quarters, including politicians, activists, immigration advocates and even United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.