Gov. McAuliffe: Virginia Will Try to Challange Trump's Executive Order Banning Refugees

A family has been detained at Dulles International Airport, McAuliffe said

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is denouncing President Donald Trump's decision to suspend the nation's refugee program for four months and indefinitely bar Syrians from entering the country.

The Democrat said during a press conference at Dulles International Airport on Saturday that he has asked Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to look into "all legal remedies" available to help individuals who may be detained in Virginia.

"We are a state that is opening and welcoming to everyone. I'm very concerned about the ramifications of this new executive order," McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe said a family has been detained at the airport but he did not provide further details. The governor's office said it could not provide additional information.

"I am very concerned about the family. I'm calling upon DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as governor where this airport is located, I want to know what families are here," McAuliffe said. "I want to know if any Virginia families have been impacted by this decision and we want answers to questions."

McAuliffe called Trump's action "discriminatory," saying it will "breed hatred toward Americans around the globe."

Trump also instituted a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.


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Dozens, and later hundreds, of demonstrators who oppose Trump's executive order gathered in the arrival area at Dulles. They chanted, "No hate. No fear. Refugees are welcome here." and "No ban! No wall!" as travelers walked by.

"It's both for, you know, the show of solidarity, but it's also really to show - for families so that families know that we're here and we can help them get legal assistance if they have a loved one who's being detained right now," said one woman representing Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

"We're just here to mobilize and to empower the community," said an attorney for CASA de Maryland, a Latino and immigration advocacy organization.

One man holding a sign with the group said he came to the airport to pick up his brother, who was flying in from Pakistan.

"I'm very much concerned because there's now about two hours and he's still not here and I'm very much concerned," he said.

Just before 10 p.m. Saturday, a federal judge blocked the government from deporting immigrants being held due President Trump's executive order.

The stay blocks anyone with a valid visa being held at airports from being deported. The stay applies only to those currently within the U.S., but not to anyone who tries to come to the U.S. going forward. And it does not mean detainees will be released, only that they can't be deported, according to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.

Demonstrators stayed at Dulles late into the night and demanded that any immigrants detained be allowed to see a lawyer. It is not known at this time how many people have been detained and if any of them have been released. 

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring released the following statement earlier in the day in response to the executive order:

"This order is in direct conflict with the most foundational principles of our country and our Commonwealth. For generations, the United States has been a beacon of hope and a safe harbor for those in need. President Trump is dimming that light and slamming the door in the face of vulnerable people fleeing unimaginable circumstances. He is also sending a terrible signal to minority communities that they too could be the target of his ire and telling Muslims in Virginia and around the country that they are inferior because of their faith. That is simply shameful.

"Along with Gov. McAuliffe, my team and I are closely examining this order, something President Trump and his administration apparently failed to do before issuing it, and exploring any options we may have to oppose this un-American, discriminatory, and misguided action."

Stay with News4 and for more updates.

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