Judge: Virginia can join challenge to Trump's travel ban

Judge: Virginia can join immigration case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP/WVEC) - A federal judge is allowing Virginia to join a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema on Friday greatly expands the scope of the lawsuit, which was initially focused only on legal permanent residents, commonly called green-card holders.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, had sought to join the lawsuit and broaden its scope. Herring's motion indicates he would seek protections for those on student and work visas and those with refugee status as well.

Judge Brinkema indicated a willingness to consider cases involving anyone who had been issued a visa and had it revoked.

A government lawyer told the judge that more than 100,000 people have had visas revoked since the ban went into effect. After the hearing, the State Department said the figure is less than 60,000, and that the 100,000 figure includes diplomatic visas exempted from the travel ban, and expired visas.

"The legal issues in this case are complex, but in many ways this case gets to the heart of who we are as Americans. We are a country and a Commonwealth that are welcoming and open. We do not discriminate based on religion, race, or national origin. That is why we will continue to fight," said Attorney General Mark Herring.

In a separate ruling, the judge ordered that the names be released of all Virginia residents who were denied entry because of the ban.

Brinkema, who oversaw the case of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, also says she had never seen the public outpouring that she has seen in this case.

"This order touched something in the U.S. that I've never seen before. People are quite upset," she said.

In addition to Virginia, there are several other court challenges across the country:

MASSACHUSETTS

A federal judge in Boston is hearing arguments Friday on a request to extend a temporary injunction against the travel restrictions.

A seven-day stoppage was granted Sunday in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two state university professors who were detained at Boston's airport as they returned home from an academic conference. Both are Muslims from Iran and lawful permanent U.S. residents.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said Friday he will rule this weekend.

WASHINGTON

A federal judge will hear arguments Friday from Washington state for a temporary restraining order that would bar enforcement of portions of the ban. The state attorney general filed a lawsuit on Monday arguing the order is unconstitutional. The state says the restraining order is needed to protect residents and businesses from suffering irreparable harm.

Minnesota has joined Washington state in seeking a temporary restraining order.

NEW YORK

A Brooklyn judge on Thursday extended a temporary restraining order to Feb. 21, but the Justice Department said it will ask her to throw out the case.

U.S. District Judge Carol Amon's ruling extended a stay that had been issued Saturday by a different judge and would have expired Feb. 11. Amon extended the order to give more time the government and civil liberties organizations to file paperwork.

MICHIGAN

A federal judge in Detroit says U.S. green-card holders shouldn't be affected by the order.

The Arab-American Civil Rights League argued in a suit filed this week in Detroit's U.S. District Court that the executive action is unconstitutional and targets immigrant communities.

A restraining order released Friday from U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts covers legal permanent residents, not some others that also are part of the lawsuit. She says lawyers for the government clarified to her that the ban doesn't apply to "lawful" permanent residents.

CALIFORNIA

Three California university students are challenging the ban. Their federal suit, filed Thursday in San Francisco, says the ban is unconstitutional and has created hardships for the students.

It alleges that a freshman at Stanford University now can't visit her husband in Yemen; another Yemeni at San Diego's Grossmont College can't resume studies there; and an unidentified University of California Berkeley doctoral candidate from Iran fears losing a job opportunity.

© 2017 Associated Press


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