WASHINGTON — A federal judge handed Virginia an initial victory in its case against the Trump administration’s travel ban, ordering the federal government to hand over a list of all Virginia residents affected by the temporary travel restrictions.
“We’re finally going to get some information from the Trump administration about exactly how many Virginia families and students and workers are affected by this ill-conceived and horribly implemented ban,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told WTOP in a Friday evening interview.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week temporarily blocking residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The Trump administration argues the measure, which sparked protests at airports across the U.S., is necessary to protect citizens and is temporary.
On Friday evening, a U.S. judge temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban after Washington state and Minnesota urged a nationwide hold on the executive order.
In the initial chaos of the order’s implementation, some lawful permanent U.S. residents, also known as green card-holders, were swept up in the ban. Other foreign travelers had their visas canceled, although the exact number has been disputed.
In the courtroom Friday, the Trump administration’s lawyer Erez Reuveni said that more than 100,000 people had their visas revoked by the travel order. The State Department later contradicted that number saying it was actually fewer than 60,000.
“Either way, it shows just how widespread the impact of this is …When you talk about numbers like this, it’s easy to get kind of get lost that these are real people,” Herring said.
Herring said he’s particularly concerned how the ban affects college students, citing the case of a 23-year-old George Mason University student originally from Libya who was overseas visiting family when the order went into effect and is now “stranded” in Turkey, Herring said.
“We’ve been pressuring the Trump administration to let her come back to school,” Herring said. “So far, the administration hasn’t done it, but we’re working as hard as we can, and that’s just one story. And there are countless others like that.”
Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael, who argued the case in court, said there are at least 350 students at Virginia public universities from the seven countries listed in the order.
The judge’s order Friday requires the Trump administration to provide the names of Virginia residents affected by the order by next Thursday.
WTOP has reached out to the White House to request an interview with an administration official.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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