When President Trump's travel executive order first went into effect in January, airports across the country erupted into chaos as legal travelers arriving from Trump's seven "banned" majority-Muslim countries were detained after landing. While temporarily being in custody at an airport is obviously slightly different than the plot of the 2004 Tom Hanks' film The Terminal, the situation still prompted a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge to wonder about the similarities.
The question arose when the Trump administration's acting U.S. Solicitor Gen. Jeffrey B. Wall argued during Monday's hearing of State of Hawaii vs. Donald Trump that "really what we're down to is: Are we required to issue immigrant visas to the 30 percent of people affected by this order who want immigrant visas, even though once they arrive at the borders we can keep them from entering under 1182(f)?"
"We don't think that system would make a lot of sense," Wall added.
"It would be like Tom Hanks at the airport, right?" clarified Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, a moderate-to-liberal judge who was appointed under President Clinton.
Wall agreed: "I think that's right."
It's not the first time the comparison has been made — when brothers Tareq Aqel Mohammed Aziz and Ammar Aziz learned their immigrant visas had been canceled upon landing in the United States just hours after the travel ban was enacted in January, their lawyer described the confusing situation as "Tom Hanks limbo."
Watch Monday's exchange via CSPAN here.