Virginia will join a federal court case challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, according to the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.
State Attorney General Mark Herring, along with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Herring said the state would join a case currently before the court, Aziz v. Trump.
"The Commonwealth of Virginia and its people are already being harmed by this ban," Herring said. "We have been working around the clock since Friday to examine this executive order before reaching this conclusion. This order is unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American, and action is required."
Herring and McAuliffe spoke directly about the educational impact of the order and the fears of students and instructors, who have been vetted and are green card holders, about traveling to or from the United States, specifically Virginia.
"As we speak, there are students at our colleges and universities who are unable to return to Virginia," Herring said. "We have professors, researchers, and employees at our colleges and universities and Virginia businesses who either cannot enter the country, or who will be barred from returning should they leave."
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order to block for seven days the removal of any green-card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport. Brinkema’s action also ordered that lawyers have access to those held there because of the ban.
Other judges in New York, Massachusetts, and Washington state also blocked parts of the order.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have already voiced their displeasure with the presidential executive order banning refugees, which sparked protests at several airports around the country.
Herring issued a statement shortly after the order was announced.
"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."