In addition to the Temporary Restraining Order issued by a federal judge in Washington, the Trump administration got more bad news out of the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday:
First, Judge Leonie Brinkema (a Clinton appointee to the federal bench) agreed to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s motion to expand the scope of individuals affected by the Trump administration’s executive law to include visa holders, in addition to to green card holders. According to a statement from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office, the Commonwealth will argue in favor of a motion for a preliminary injunction at a hearing scheduled for February 10.
Second, Judge Brinkema issued a one-page order (Read the PDF here) requiring the federal government to provide the Commonwealth of Virginia “a list of all persons who have been denied entry to or removed from the United States since the Executive Order entitled ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States’ was signed.” Judge Brinkema’s order applies to anyone who was a Virginia resident on the morning of January 27, 2017, and “had lawful permanent resident status, an immigrant visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa), a valid student visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa), or a valid work visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa) by the close of business on Thursday, February 9,2017.”
Third was the biggest bombshell to come out of yesterday’s hearing, which will likely cause the Trump administration no small amount of political and legal headaches for the foreseeable future. Erez Reuveni, a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation, told the court, “Over 100,000 visas were revoked on Friday at 6:30 p.m.,” referring to the date the executive order was signed. According to a Daily Beast reporter who was in the courtroom at the time:
The State Department disputed that figure, saying it was only 60,000 visas that had been revoked. Regardless of which figure is ultimately correct, why is it such a problem for the administration? Again, from Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff:
The President himself cited that same 109 figure earlier this week:
In other words, the administration downplayed the impact of the Executive Order, potentially by a magnitude of 1,000. (That doesn’t mean that 60,000-100,000 people were detained at or deported from various airports, it means that 60,000-100,000 visas were revoked by the federal government as a consequence of the order.)
Expect all the plaintiffs filing lawsuits against the administration across the country to use that 100,000 visas figure in court and in every filing that will come up in the days and weeks ahead.