Virginia Senators Demand Answers About Status of Detained Travelers

by | Jan 31, 2017 | Government

By Susan Larson.

In a letter sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine “demanded” answers about the status of travelers being detained at Dulles International and other airports across the country as a result of President Trump’s executive order.

As of this writing, the executive order is not posted on https://www.whitehouse.gov/, but it has been published by The New York Times: Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S.

In summary, President Trump’s executive order on immigration:
– indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the United States;
– suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The banned countries were not warned, CBS news reported.

“In the two days since the issuance of the executive order, there has been widespread confusion and distress, as well as the reported detention of legal permanent residents at many major U.S. international airports, including Dulles International Airport in Virginia,” the senators wrote. “Our staffs have worked diligently throughout the weekend to render assistance to distressed families, but it is completely unacceptable that public guidance from the Department of Homeland Security was nonexistent, incomplete or contradictory.”

Senators Warner and Kaine requested answers and information on the following:
– A complete list of the names of individuals and their country of origin, detained at airports in Virginia, as well as the reason for their detention and where they are being held

– Whether DHS will honor the rulings of the Eastern District of Virginia, the Eastern District of New York, and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts or continue to enforce an order that has been expressly stayed

– Information about the additional security checks that DHS is claiming are needed before nationals of the identified countries can enter the United States

– How, if the temporary restraining orders are lifted and the EO is to be enforced, certain rules and regulations would apply to dual nationals, lawful permanent residents/green card holders, pending visa applicants, joining relatives, and current visa holders.

“The broadness of the EO suggests this is a policy targeting Muslims, an approach that national security experts have testified would harm, not help, our national security interests,” the senators wrote.

“We join the interfaith community in Virginia and around the country in objecting to these moves, and we will work in Congress to block an effort that trades dubious increases in our national security for certain alienation of partners with whom we must cooperate to address terrorism. We urge you in the strongest terms to provide immediate clarity to Congress and the American people.”

A copy of the complete letter is attached.

McAuliffe, Herring Outraged by Trump’s Ban on Muslim Immigrants and Refugees

Speaker Howell’s Response to Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

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