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Image of the Virginia State Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING FORMALLY REQUESTS INFORMATION ON DETENTIONS IN VIRGINIA RESULTING FROM IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVE ORDER

RICHMOND (January 29, 2017)--Attorney General Mark R. Herring has formally requested additional information from the federal government on any detentions in Virginia resulting from President Trump's Executive Order on immigration, including any individuals with lawful permanent resident status or validly issued work or student visas. Attorney General Herring has also requested information about whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is complying with or in violation of a federal order giving lawful permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport access to attorneys. 

"This ill-conceived and poorly-implemented order is leaving families, professors and students at our colleges and universities, workers in healthcare and high tech industries, and even lawful permanent residents in limbo. We need answers and we need them now," said Attorney General Herring. "I am extremely concerned about reports that CBP at Dulles continued to deny access to attorneys in direct defiance of a valid court order. If true, that would represent a frightening and unacceptable breakdown in the rule of law. While we wait for President Trump and his administration to come forward with the information the people of Virginia deserve and demand, we will continue to examine all options for the state to oppose this un-American and unlawful executive order." 

 

Attorney General Herring's letter is available here and is below:

January 29, 2017

 

The Honorable John Kelly

Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528

The Honorable Dana J. Boente

U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia

2100 Jamieson Ave.

Alexandria, VA 22314

 

Kevin K. McAleenan

Acting Commissioner

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Washington, D.C. 20528

Wayne Biondi

Port Director of the Area Port of Washington Dulles, U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

Re: This weekend's events at Dulles International Airport

Gentlemen:

I am deeply concerned about events at Dulles International Airport on January 27, 28, and 29, 2017, in which U.S. Customs & Border Protection personnel ("CBP") detained air passengers who arrived at the airport following issuance by President Trump of his Executive Order dated January 27, 2017, entitled "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States." 

On Saturday, January 28, at approximately 9:30 p.m., the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order ("TRO") in Aziz v. Trump, directed against all respondents: President Trump; the Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Secretary Kelly; Acting Commissioner McAleenan; and Port Director Biondi.  The TRO enjoined respondents: (1) to "permit lawyers access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport"; and (2) to refrain from "removing petitioners-lawful permanent residents at Dulles International Airport-for a period of 7 days from the issuance of this Order."  It was widely reported on Saturday night and yesterday that CBP officials refused to permit such access to counsel, even after receiving notice of the TRO. 

Although many aspects of these events are disturbing, I am particularly troubled that Virginia residents were detained, or returned to the country from which their travel originated, despite having been previously issued lawful permanent residence status or lawful student or work visas.  Accordingly, I respectfully request that you provide the following information:

Lawful Permanent Residents

1)     How many persons with lawful permanent resident status were detained at Dulles on January 27, 28, and 29?  Of those detained, how many were removed from the United States before CBP personnel at Dulles received actual notice of the TRO?  How many were removed after such notice was received?  What time on January 28 did CBP receive actual notice of the TRO and how and to whom was that notice provided? 

2)     Why did the respondents in Aziz disobey the TRO's directive to permit lawyers to have access to the detained lawful permanent residents?  Please provide the names and titles of all officials responsible for that decision.

3)     Of those lawful permanent residents detained at Dulles on January 27, 28, or 29, how many showed a residence address in the Commonwealth of Virginia?  Please provide the name and address of such Virginia residents.  For those who were removed from the United States, please state the date the person was removed and identify the country to which that person was removed.  If CBP or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") continues to detain any such Virginia resident, please state the place where that Virginia resident is currently detained. 

 

Travelers with valid student or work visas

4)     How many persons with valid student or work visas were detained at Dulles on January 27, 28, and 29 pursuant to the authority of the Executive Order?   Of those detained, how many showed a residence address in the Commonwealth of Virginia?  Of those with a Virginia residence, how many were removed from the United States and how many were permitted entry? 

5)     Does the CBP continue to detain any Virginia residents who were traveling with a valid student or work visa?  If so, please provide the names and addresses of such Virginia residents, their nationality, and the type of visa on which the person was traveling.

I would appreciate your providing this information as soon as practicable, but by no later than February 1.  If you have any questions about this request, please feel free to speak with Solicitor General, Stuart A. Raphael (804-786-7240).

 

            Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

                                                                        Sincerely,