Leahy Presses Trump Administration For Details On Trump’s Immigration Order

Senator Patrick Leahy pressed the Trump administration Friday for specific details on the number of individuals, including U.S. citizens and valid green card holders, who were banned, detained, or mistreated when trying to enter the United States following the president’s executive order that was signed last week.

President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries has been challenged in federal court, and three district court judges ruled that at least parts of the order may be unconstitutional. 

In his letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Leahy requested information about how many visas were revoked since the immigration order was signed last week, and how many individuals were detained or questioned at ports of entry.  Leahy also sought information about the nationality and visa type of those who were refused entry into the United States, and whether the State Department or the Homeland Security Department were consulted about the order which caused global chaos.

“The Executive Order has caused widespread confusion and created uncertainty for countless refugees, asylum seekers, and others who currently possess or were approved for visas.  This uncertainty threatens to put men, women, and children fleeing war, violence, and persecution at risk of death and injury,” Leahy wrote.

Leahy called the detention of a five-year-old “unconscionable,” and he also raised concerns that individuals detained were not given proper access to counsel.

“Access to counsel is an intrinsic and basic right in our justice system.  It is imperative that individuals receive the legal protections they deserve and a fair opportunity to seek asylum in this country from persecution and violence,” Leahy wrote.

A copy of the February 3 letter to Secretary of State Tillerson and DHS Secretary Kelly is available online.

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