A U.S. government lawyer in Virginia on Friday said that more than 100,000 visas have now been revoked, while the State Department itself has claimed that the figure is closer to 60,000. Both figures contradict Trump administration claims that just 109 travelers were adversely impacted by the ["Muslim ban."].
[A] new directive issued to employees appears to reverse key elements of the procedures U.S. immigration officials are expected to follow [after the Executive Order on immigration signed by President Trump].
Last weekend, as DHS personnel scrambled to figure out what the executive order meant for their work, a directive from Daniel M. Renaud, associate director of field operations for USCIS, informed senior officials that “Effectively [sic] immediately and until additional guidance is received, you may not take final action on any petition or application where the applicant is a citizen or national of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya.”
A number of rank-and-file DHS staffers were horrified to learn of the directive when they returned to work on Monday.
Thursday’s [new] memo essentially walked back the previous memo — a sign of the chaos that continues to dominate the agency and an indication that policies related to the ban remain uncertain, fluid, and subject to public as well as internal pressure.
In the more recent memo, [Lori Scialabba, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] noted that the portion of the executive order dealing with visas and immigration benefits for individuals from the listed countries “does not affect applications and petitions by lawful permanent residents outside the United States, or applications and petitions for individuals outside the United States whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization (including any immigrant or nonimmigrant visa petition).”
“This memo completely reverses the hold imposed Monday,” a senior U.S. immigration official told The Intercept, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is now no additional processing requirements for all immigration petitions for nationals of affected countries. It is essentially a return to the status quo.”