Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Sunday he will join his counterparts from more than a dozen other states in fighting President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban entry into the United States for refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
By Jessica Samuels for Capital News Service
“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith,” Herring and the other attorneys general said in a statement.
Herring, a Democrat, praised the federal courts that have ordered a stay of Trump’s action, which bans citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days.
“We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values,” the statement said.
“We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”
The statement was issued jointly by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.
Also Sunday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he has sent the White House a letter “seeking answers to several critical questions” about Trump’s order. The questions included:
- “How many travelers who were bound for the United States remain detained at the Customs and Border Control facilities at Dulles International Airport?”
- “Can you assure the Virginia public of the health and general welfare of the individuals who have been detained? And what, if any, arrangements are being made to accommodate people with special medical needs?”
McAuliffe urged Trump to rescind his executive order, which the Democratic governor called “antithetical to the values upon which our nation was founded.”
“It sends a message to the world that people who are fleeing religious persecution, simply traveling to work or meeting loved ones are not welcome in America. It will certainly be used by a small minority of extremists as a recruitment and radicalization tool to grow their numbers and threaten the security of our sons and daughters, both abroad and here at home,” McAuliffe said.
Michael Rao, the president of Virginia Commonwealth University, also released a statement Sunday about Trump’s executive order.
Addressing VCU students and faculty members, Rao wrote: “Many of you have understandably expressed concern and anxiety about the impact of the U.S. Presidential Executive Order that for the next 90 days bans visa and green card holders of seven countries from entering the United States.”
“We are very closely monitoring developments and have sought direct guidance from the state Attorney General’s Office on the range of issues and deep concerns affecting our students, faculty, staff, and community that may stem from the order,” Rao stated.
Rao recommended that students, faculty and staff from the restricted countries “avoid non-essential travel outside the United States until the full implications of the situation are clarified unless they consult with an immigration attorney.”
Trump signed his executive order Friday, saying it would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Trump said.