US Revokes More Than 100000 Visas After Trump's Travel Ban

Donat Sorokin  TASS

More than 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of President Donald Trump's ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, an attorney for the government said in Alexandria, Va., federal court on Friday.

Besides Yemenis, citizens from Iran, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia have been banned from entering the United States for 90 days after Trump's executive order last Friday.

The White House has contended the moves were necessary for national security, and Justice Department lawyers on Friday said religion had not been a factor in the selection of the seven countries.

The pause does not apply to Lawful Permanent Residents, dual citizens with passports from a country other than the seven listed, or those travelling on diplomatic, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or United Nations visas, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Now, some indication to the number of people affected has been revealed after a lawsuit was filed by two Yemeni brothers on Friday (3 February) after they were caught up in the travel ban. General John F. Kelly, newly installed as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has said the 90-day decree doesn't apply to those already granted legal US residency status.

When asked about the revoked visas, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said,"I don't have any details right now".

"We recognise that those individuals are temporarily inconvenienced while we conduct our review under the Executive Order", he said. This decision shuts down the executive order immediately.

A spokesperson told CNN Friday, "Fewer than 60,000 individuals' visas were provisionally revoked to comply with the executive order". To put that number in context, we issued over 11 million immigrant and nonimmigrant visas in fiscal year 2015. Some of those people were lawful USA residents holding so-called green cards and work visas.

She went on to explain that she recognized that the President has "almost unfettered" discretion in the area of immigration, but his power has "limits" and the rollout of the executive order caused "chaos" last weekend.

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, said after the hearing that "there is no legal justification to cancel all these visas".

"I have never had so much public outpouring as I have seen in this case", Brinkema said.

A week ago, Trump issued an executive order halting arrivals for at least 90 days for the citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Greg Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Law Association, called the actions "an all-out assault by the Trump administration" on immigration, the first steps in "a massive deportation campaign".

The Trump administration has argued that the travel ban, issued January 27, is necessary to keep the United States safe from terrorism as it institutes more restrictive vetting on visitors and refugees, but it has drawn protests at airport's nationwide and condemnation from Democrats, many of whom call it a "Muslim ban".

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