Judge: Immigration executive order led to 'chaos'

Virginia joins immigration ban lawsuit

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WVEC) -- The Commonwealth of Virginia can move ahead with a lawsuit against President Trump's immigration order.

On Friday, a federal judge approved the effort led by Attorney General Mark Herring. 13News Now had the only local reporter inside the Alexandria federal courtroom.

There were some tense moments and harsh words inside the federal courthouse Friday morning, where the hearing lasted just over an hour.

“I have been on this bench a long time,” Judge Leonie Brinkema told attorneys. “I have never had so much public outpouring as I’ve had on this case. This order touched something in the United States I’ve never seen before.”

She said President Trump's executive order on immigration led to “chaos.”

Attorneys argued it was chaos for people like Osman Nasreldin and his fiancée Sahar Fadul.  Osman is a US citizen, while Fadul is from the Sudan. They fell in love and plan to get married. She was given a K-1 visa, which would allow her to come here to marry.

On Saturday morning, she was detained at Dulles Airport, and then sent right back overseas.

“Imagine that you have worked rigorously for months and months to have the ability to live in this country to work, to pay your taxes, to buy a house and then to suddenly with the stroke of a pen -- literally when she's in the air -- have that dream dashed,” the couple’s attorney, Timothy Heaphy explained.

He joined lawyers representing the Commonwealth.

The state's motion relied on an argument of financial hardship: that this executive order would cost Virginia money it would get from citizens who can't come here. Attorneys described how that trivializes what's at the heart of this issue.

“The right to worship freely, equal protection and due process, these are core concepts and values and sometimes they may seem lofty and abstract, but they're real,” Attorney General Herring said.

The judge rejected the federal government's argument there is no reason for Virginia to join this particular case, since it is reaching settlements with the plaintiffs.

Lawyers revealed today 100,000 visas have been revoked. Heaphy believes that's the reason the litigation needs to move forward.

“The problem isn't solved by our clients coming back, by the Aziz brothers coming back, because there are many people in that situation that haven't had their day in court,” he added.

The attorney general, his lawyers and lawyers for President Trump will be back in Friday February 10th to argue on the temporary injunction dealing with this executive order.

(© 2017 WVEC)


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