A U.S. federal judge in Hawaii said on Wednesday he would decide within hours about whether to stop President Donald Trump's revised travel ban from taking effect as scheduled just after midnight ET on Thursday.
A judge in Maryland said he also might issue an emergency order on Wednesday in advance of the ban.
State attorneys general and refugee resettlement agencies across the United States have filed several lawsuits asking courts to issue emergency stays on Trumps executive order.
The order was signed on March 6 after an initial, broader ban was suspended by federal courts.
The revised order temporarily bars entry to the United States of most refugees as well as travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The Republican president has said the policy is critical for national security.
The federal judges at three hearings on Wednesday strongly questioned lawyers for both the administration and its critics, pressing on the question of who specifically would be harmed by the revamped executive order.
Trump signed the first order a week after his Jan. 20 inauguration. It temporarily banned travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries in addition to most refugees and took effect immediately, causing chaos and protests at airports across the country and around the globe.
After the ban was targeted by more than two dozen lawsuits arguing it discriminated against Muslims and violated the U.S. Constitution, it was struck down by a federal judge in Seattle in a ruling upheld by a U.S. appeals court.
The White House went back to the drawing board and narrowed its scope.
The new order bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, but Iraq is no longer on the list. Refugees are still barred for 120 days, but an indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria was dropped.
The revised ban also excludes legal permanent residents and existing visa holders. It provides a series of waivers for various categories of immigrants with ties to the United States. The government has maintained in court that the changes resolve any legal issues with the original order.