The number of visas revoked by the administration of US President Donald Trump under his entry ban against several Muslim countries has surpassed 100,000, according to a latest report.
A government attorney broke the news during a hearing for a complaint by two Yemenis, who were deported to Ethiopia upon arrival at Dulles International Airport, The Washington Post has reported.
Besides Yemenis, citizens from Iran, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia have been banned from entering the US for 90 days after Trump’s executive order last Friday.
The directive also bans Syrian refugees indefinitely and halts all refugee admissions for 120 days.
The decision led to widespread confusion and arrests at various US airports. The attorney did not reveal the exact number of people who were taken into custody immediately after the ban.
The US State Department disputed the claim, saying that the actual number is less than 60,000.
“Fewer than 60,000 individuals’ visas were provisionally revoked to comply with the executive order,” Will Cocks, spokesman for the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, said.
The White House and Trump himself have repeatedly played down the ban’s effect on foreign nationals, with various US officials claiming that only 109 people have been arrested.
“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,” Trump said in a tweet Sunday.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has admitted that the number is from the early days and “would increase” over time.
This is while, according to some media reports, the number has been at least 10 times larger than what Washington claims.
Until Monday evening, 1,059 legal permanent residents and 75 other visa holders had been granted waivers to enter the US, according to the Huffington Post.
At least 721 foreign nationals have been denied from boarding planes since the signing of the order, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
The Trump administration refuses to count millions of people who were barred from the US following the order.—Agencies