Creating new perspectives since 2009

Judge orders White House to list people excluded by Trump ban

February 4, 2017 at 12:01 am

Activists stage a rally against President Donald Trump’s 90-days ban of entry on 7 Muslim-majority countries in San Francisco, US on January 28, 2017 [Tayfun Coşkun – Anadolu Agency]

A federal judge in Virginia ordered the White House to provide a list of all people stopped from entering the United States by a travel ban imposed last week on citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries by President Donald Trump.

The ruling came on a day that attorneys from four states were in courts challenging the executive order. The Trump administration justified the action on national security grounds, but opponents labelled it an unconstitutional targeting of people based on the religious beliefs.

The State Department said yesterday that less than 60,000 visas previously issued to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen had been invalidated as a result of the order. That disclosure followed media reports that government lawyers were citing a figure of 100,000.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia, ordered the federal government to give the state a list by Thursday of “all persons who have been denied entry to or removed from the United States.”

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, at least four college students from Iran and Iraq who had previously been blocked from entering the United States by the order, arrived with new visas yesterday, according to a Reuters witness.

The new Republican president’s order signed on 27 January triggered chaos at US airports last weekend. Some travellers abroad were turned back from flights into the United States, crowds of hundreds of people packed into arrival areas to protest and legal objections were filed across the country.

The order also temporarily stopped the entry of all refugees into the country and indefinitely halted the settlement of Syrian refugees.

The state of Hawaii on Friday joined the challenge to the order, with officials saying they were suing to block enforcement of the travel ban. Federal judges in Boston and Seattle also were weighing arguments.