NEW YORK: US rights groups filed a legal challenge Saturday to President Donald Trump's order halting the arrival of refugees and travelers from seven Muslim countries.

The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups after two Iraqi men were detained Friday night at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. It seeks their release on grounds of unlawful detention.

The groups asked that the challenge be given class action status so they can represent all refugees and travelers held up because of Trump's executive order on Friday.

The New York Times reported that airport authorities started detaining travelers as early as Friday night.

It said one of the Iraqi men held in New York had worked for the US government in Iraq for 10 years and the other was coming to America to join his wife, who had worked for a US contractor.

The Times quoted their lawyers as saying both men had valid visas to travel to the United States.