State Department Says Fewer Than 60,000 Visas Revoked Under Travel Order | WBEZ
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State Department Says Fewer Than 60,000 Visas Revoked Under Travel Order

Updated 6:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department says "roughly 60,000 individuals' visas were provisionally revoked" as a result of President Trump's Jan. 27 executive order barring refugees from seven countries.

That number is considerably lower than the number given by a Justice Department attorney, who said today in federal court in Virginia that 100,000 visas were revoked as a result of the order, as Carmel Delshad of member station WAMU reported.

Both numbers are considerably higher than the figure provided by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this week. Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection told reporters on Tuesday that 721 people with visas had not been allowed to board airplanes to the U.S. in the first 72 hours after the order went into effect. An additional 1,135 people with visas were granted waivers to enter the country, he said.

The 100,000 figure came out during a hearing for two lawful permanent residents from Yemen who filed a lawsuit after arriving at Dulles International Airport last Saturday. The two men allege they were detained and coerced into giving up their immigrant visas before being put on a return flight to Ethiopia, Delshad reported.

"U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said that it was clear to her the temporary travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries went into effect too quickly, and not a lot of thought went into it," and issued a seven-day extension of a temporary order barring the deportation of green card holders from Dulles Airport, Delshad reported.

The executive order bans people from traveling to the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for three months, suspends new-refugee admissions for 120 days and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely.

State Department spokesman Will Cocks says the executive order doesn't mean a visa-holder already in the U.S. is in the country illegally. "An Iranian student in the U.S. now likely has a visa that could have been revoked. However this has no impact on legal status on those in the U.S. So they are not here illegally," he says.

New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Minnesota and Washington state have all sued the federal government over the order. Eric Schneiderman, the New York state attorney general, described the order signed last Friday as "unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-America," reported The Guardian.

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