Posted Feb 03, 2017 12:25 pm CST
Updated: A Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge in Virginia on Friday that more than 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.
Lawyer Erez Reuveni of the department’s Office of Immigration Litigation gave the number in response to a question by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema of Alexandria, CNN and the Washington Post report.
The State Department, however, contradicted that number. It said the actual number of visas revoked is 60,000, the Associated Press reports.
Reuveni is defending the government in a suit filed on behalf of two Yemeni brothers who had a valid visa, but were put on a flight back to Ethiopia, according to the Post story. They are represented by Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center.
“The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said.
Brinkema ruled Friday that the state of Virginia could join the brothers’ lawsuit. But she declined to hold government officials in contempt for allegedly violating her order requiring legal permanent residents be given access to lawyers, saying she didn’t have enough information to rule.
A press release by the Virginia Attorney General’s office says the state’s participation in the lawsuit case expands the scope of affected individuals to include visa holders and lawful permanent residents who hold green cards.
According to the Post, the government appears to be offering new visas to lawsuit plaintiffs if they agree to drop their suits.
Updated at 12:50 p.m. to include State Department information on visas and information from the Virginia attorney general.
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