Tens of thousands of visas were revoked last week by President Donald Trump’s executive order than bans the citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.
The revelation illustrates the scale of the disruption caused by Trump’s decree, which he signed an executive order on Jan. 27 . The initial disclosure came in a federal court hearing in Virginia in a case challenging the revocation of the visas of a pair of Yemeni brothers who arrived at Washington’s Dulles airport on Jan. 28. The Justice Department initially said 100,000 visas had been revoked, but the State Department later claimed it was closer to 60,000.
The admission capped a week of legal and political turmoil triggered by the imposition of a ban that could reshape the network of allegiances and historic grudges that govern the modern Middle East. Nation states there divided roughly into two camps: those affected by the ban, and those exempt. Among the first camp, outrage ensued. Iran banned U.S. citizens from entering. The Iraqi parliament called for the same. An official from Libya’s U.S.-backed government accused America of “racial discrimination.” But elsewhere there was a tactical silence. With their citizens unaffected by the ban, the governments of some U.S.-allied states, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, declined to comment. The United Arab Emirates defended the ban.
Throughout the region, Trump’s executive order seemed to foreshadow a coming season of turbulence in relations with the United States. During his campaign, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” on all Muslims entering the United States. Here, in the first week of Trump’s administration, was a policy that followed through on his campaign rhetoric, apparently with little regard for the geopolitical fallout.