Belying the government's claim that only 109 legal immigrants were "inconvenienced" by President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, news outlets reported Friday that more than 100,000 visas have been revoked in the wake of the recent travel ban.
According to the Washington Post, which reported the figure citing a government attorney at a federal court hearing in Virginia:
The number came out during a hearing in a lawsuit filed by attorneys for two Yemeni brothers who arrived at Dulles International Airport last Saturday. They were coerced into giving up their legal resident visas, they argue, and quickly put on a return flight to Ethiopia.
"The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs," said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents the brothers.
Indeed, Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff said, "there was an audible gasp in the...courtroom" when attorney Erez Reuveni, from the Department of Justice's Office of Immigration Litigation, announced the number.
There was an audible gasp in the EDVA courtroom when govt lawyer Erez Reuveni said 100k+ visas were revoked by Trump EO
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— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) February 3, 2017
A government official told NBC News that "fewer than 60,000 individuals' visas were provisionally revoked to comply with the executive order."
But as immigration lawyer Elissa Taub wrote on Twitter:
Whether it's just under 60k or over 100k, the # of visas revoked is still high. That is 60k actual people affected. The #travelban is cruel.
— elissa taub (@ejtaub) February 3, 2017