Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Virginia Joins Federal Court Challenge to Trump's Muslim Travel Ban

As the legal challenges to and wide spread condemnation of Donald Trump, a/k/a, Der Fuhrer's continue to grow, especially in the wake of Trump's firing of the acting Attorney General for refusing to enforce his illegal action, the Commonwealth of Virginia has now joined the expanding number federal court challenges.  Both Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (pictured above) and Governor Terry McAuliffe back Virginia's challenge which is adversely impacting Virginia businesses, university faculty members, and, of course, university students.  The Washington Post looks at this development and the manner in which the rights of those already holding valid visas have been trampled.  Here are article highlights:
The Commonwealth of Virginia intervened Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by attorneys for two Yemeni brothers who arrived at Dulles International Airport on Saturday and were quickly put on a return flight to Ethiopia in response to President Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Tareq and Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz had been approved for permanent residence status in the United States, where they planned to join their father. Their attorneys say they were coerced, with no legal counsel present, to sign papers they didn’t understand, giving up visas they had worked for years to secure.
Fifty or sixty other legal residents were similarly detained at Dulles, the attorneys allege, saying that many were likewise unfairly persuaded to sign away their right to stay. A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in California reported similar scenarios at Los Angeles International Airport.
The lawsuit, in federal court in Virginia, is among several filed across the country challenging the president’s ban.
At a news conference Tuesday, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) called Trump’s executive order “sweeping, poorly understood and chaotically implemented,” and said it “led to the violation of the constitutional and statutory rights of numerous residents of Virginia.”
He justified Virginia’s interest in joining the lawsuit by saying the executive order affects “numerous” residents of the state, especially students and staff at colleges and universities. As a result, he said, the state would face difficulty in attracting students and faculty, and would suffer financial damage.
Herring said that more than 100 students at Virginia Commonwealth University alone are either unable to leave to visit their families or return to campus from overseas.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who stood beside Herring for the announcement, said he had been “receiving calls from folks throughout the commonwealth” since the executive order last Friday. “I have been notified by scores of companies who are now worried about their employees,” he said. “This is not the United States of America that we know.”
[W]hen [Tareq and Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz] they arrived at Dulles, the brothers were handcuffed and their immigration paperwork was seized, their attorneys said. They were given documents to sign and allegedly told that if they did not, they would be removed from the country and barred from coming back for five years. They were not allowed to see legal counsel.
Under pressure, their attorneys said, they signed the documents without realizing that by doing so they had renounced their legal U.S. status. Agents stamped “canceled” on their visas and told them to get on a flight at their own expense to Ethi­o­pia, where they had stopped on their way from Yemen, the attorneys said.
On Saturday night, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued an order guaranteeing access to attorneys for all legal permanent residents detained at Dulles and barring the removal of those residents for seven days. But the Aziz brothers had already been sent to Ethi­o­pia. And in their most recent court filing, their attorneys said that after the judge’s order was issued, customs officials at the airport continued to bar access on the grounds that the people they had stopped were in “processing,” not “detention.”
“The full impact of President Trump’s ban remains unclear because the government has not complied fully and transparently with a valid temporary restraining order issued by a federal court,” Herring said. 

I continue to feel like I am watching things unfold much as 1930's Germans who opposed Hitler observed their nation descend into dictatorship and the trampling on civil rights become the norm.   

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