More than 100,000 visas have been revoked in the wake of the Trump administrations recent travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, the Washington Post and NBC News reported on Friday.
A government attorney cited the figure at a federal court hearing over a new lawsuit filed by Virginia against the Trump administration’s immigration order. The lawsuit claims that as many as 60 foreign nationals were coerced into giving up their visas or green cards upon arriving at Washington, DC’s Dulles airport last weekend, and were subsequently deported.
A government attorney told the court on Friday that, in addition to the 60 people who were stripped of their legal status and deported last weekend, 100,000 others have had their visas taken away from them.
Trump last Friday signed an executive order barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days while the federal government revisits its screening processes. The order also suspended the US’s refugee-admitting program for 120 days, indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from resettling in the US, and gave priority status to minorities fleeing religious persecution.
The Virginia lawsuit was filed in a federal court on Sunday on behalf of two Yemeni brothers with valid visas — Tareq Aqel Mohammed Aziz and Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz — and “others similarly situated.” According to the lawsuit, they were detained by Customs and Border Protection agents at Dulles Airport and “forced to sign” I-407 forms “against their will and without their knowledge or consent.”
The forms, if signed, mean the signatory has “voluntarily” abandoned their status as a “lawful permanent resident of the United States,” according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The agents “lied to immigrants arriving after the executive order was signed, falsely telling them that if they did not sign a relinquishment of their legal rights, they would be formally ordered removed from the United States, which would bring legal consequences including a five-year bar for reentry to the United States,” the lawsuit claims. Their legal immigrant status was subsequently “revoked without due process of law.”
The new numbers shed light on how far-reaching Trump’s immigration order has been, and appears to contradict White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claim on Monday that the order only “inconvenienced” 109 legal immigrants last weekend.
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