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Federal Judge Blocks Trump Travel Ban for Virginia Residents

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By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press

McLEAN, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing its travel ban in Virginia, adding another judicial ruling to those already in place challenging the ban's constitutionality.

A federal appeals court in California has already upheld a national temporary restraining order stopping the government from implementing the ban, which is directed at seven Muslim-majority countries.

But the preliminary injunction issued late Monday by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria is a more permanent type of injunction than the temporary restraining order issued in the Washington state case.

Brinkema's injunction, though, applies only to Virginia residents.

In her 22-page ruling, Brinkema said the Trump administration offered no justification for the travel ban and wrote that the president's executive power "does not mean absolute power."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

02/13/2017 Release from Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General:

RICHMOND(February 13, 2017) - Tonight Judge Leonie Brinkema found that President Donald Trump's January 27 Executive Order is actually the Muslim ban that he promised as a candidate, and therefore the commonwealth is likely to prevail on its claim that the order discriminates against Muslims in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Because the commonwealth is likely to be successful in its claim, the judge granted Attorney General Mark R. Herring's motion for the nation's first preliminary injunction to protect Virginia residents and the commonwealth itself from the harm caused by the ban.

In finding that the commonwealth is likely to prevail on its claim that the order violates the First Amendment, Judge Brinkema wrote:
"The commonwealth has produced unrebutted evidence supporting its position that it is likely to succeed on an Establishment Clause claim. The 'Muslim ban' was a centerpiece of the president's campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered."

Attorney General Herring issued the following statement on the nation's first preliminary injunction:

"I saw this unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American ban for exactly what it is and I'm glad the court has, too. We presented a mountain of evidence showing this was the 'Muslim ban' that President Trump promised as a candidate, while his administration failed to refute one shred of our evidence or provide any of its own to support its claims. The overwhelming evidence shows that this ban was conceived in religious bigotry and is actually making Americans and our armed forces less safe at home and abroad. This preliminary injunction will protect Virginians while our case is pending, and the opinion explaining it lays out in stunning detail the extent to which the Court finds this order to likely violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

In light of the existing temporary restraining order in the case pending in Washington/9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brinkema's preliminary injunction is narrowly tailored to address Virginia's harms and currently applies only to affected Virginia residents. Under this preliminary injunction, the Trump administration is barred until a trial from enforcing its ban against any Virginia green card holder or Virginia workers or students who were lawfully in the United States when the Executive Order went into effect:

ENJOINED from enforcing § 3(c) of Executive Order 13,769 against any person who has a Virginia residence or is employed by or attends an educational institution administered by the commonwealth of Virginia, and who, as of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, January 27,2017, was lawfully admitted for permanent residency in the United States, held an immigrant visa that would entitle the bearer to be lawfully admitted for permanent residency upon admission to the United States, held a valid student visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa), or held a valid work visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa)

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