According to the Washington Post, an attorney for the United States Government has revealed that less than a week into President Trump’s ban on predominantly-Muslim countries has lead to the revocation of more than 100,000 visas.
The revelation came during a hearing in an Alexandria, VA federal court. The hearing was for a lawsuit filed by two Yemeni brothers who were coerced into giving up their visas at Dulles International Airport shortly after the institution of the ban last weekend.
The attorney in question is Erez Reuveni, with the Justice Department Office of Immigration Litigation. According to the Washington Post, Reuveni “could not say how many people with visas were sent back to their home countries from Dulles in response to the travel ban. However, he did say that all people with green cards who came through the airport have been let into the United States.”
Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael explained that the government is currently working on a case-by-case basis, offering some visa holders – specifically those who have filed lawsuits – new visas in exchange for them dropping any pending litigation against the United States government. Raphael explains that this method isn’t good enough because it keeps most of those who have been deported from being able to rebut any justification the government might have cited.
This breath-taking number is also stunning because the White House has said over and over again that only a handful of people have been affected. On Meet the Press with Chuck Todd this past Sunday, Reince Priebus insisted that this was not a ban, and the Trump administration was not painting with a broad brush.
And so it wasn’t chaos. I mean, the fact of the matter is 325,000 people from foreign countries came into the United States yesterday. And 109 people were detained for further questioning. Most of those people were moved out. We’ve got a couple dozen more that remain. And I would suspect as long as they’re not awful people that they will move through before another half a day today. And perhaps some of these people should be detained further. And if they’re folks that shouldn’t be in this country they’re going to be detained.
He added later,
But again this– what we’re talking about, out of 325,000 people, trying to find a proverbial needle in a haystack was accomplished yesterday with a little over 100 people detained for further questioning from these countries. People are moving out of the system and moving forward. This obviously is going to be, I believe, a very smooth and effective operation for the safety of Americans across the country.
Federal Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia noted that she had never seen such a show of public support and outrage before in the United States. She then offered a strongly-worded rebuke of the executive order, calling this an example of “almost unfettered” executive power, and “It’s quite clear that not all the thought went into it that should have gone into it. There has been chaos . . . without any kind of actual hard evidence that there is a need.” These visas were valid one moment, and not the next. Keeping families from one another in this manner was and is completely unnecessary.