The Trump administration on Friday appealed a Maryland court's block of its revised travel ban, aiming to reinstate the temporary halt to immigrants and visitor arrivals from six majority Muslim countries, reports said.
The US Justice Department filed a notice of appeal with the district court in Greenbelt, Maryland, two days after that court and one in Hawaii dealt a new blow to the White House's travel ban, both ruling that it discriminated against Muslims.
The case now goes to a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia.
Trump has said a travel ban is needed to preserve US national security and keep out extremists.
His first effort, in January, banned visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries and all refugees but was blocked by a court in Washington state on the grounds that it violated the constitution's prohibition of religious discrimination.
That block was upheld on appeal, and the administration said it would revise the ban to better adhere to the law.
But the new ban has run into the same problems.
It aims to close US borders to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and all refugees for at least 120 days. Iraq was on the original ban list but removed in the revision.
While the ban does not mention Muslims, the courts have accepted arguments that Trump's statements while he was running for president last year — that he would open his White House term with a ban on Muslim arrivals — effectively defined his approach.
Muslim ban faces courts
Arguing the case in Hawaii, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said of Trump's comments, "There is a difference between a president and a candidate."
"This order doesn't draw any religious distinction at all," he added.
The American Civil Liberties Union had filed the lawsuit in Maryland on behalf of several refugee assistance groups and was optimistic about its chances in the appeals court.
Meanwhile in Washington state, where the ban is also being challenged, US District Court Judge James Robart put a stay on proceedings for as long as the Hawaii court's nationwide temporary restraining order remains in place, to "conserve resources" and to avoid duplicative rulings.