Virginia Adds Another Challenge to Trump Immigration Order, Asks Federal Judge for Injunction

PHOTO: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (C) accompanied by Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael, speaks outside the federal courthouse, Feb. 10, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia. PlayJessica Gresko/AP
WATCH President Trump 'Going Forward' After Block to His Executive Order

Today, Virginia’s Solicitor General, Stuart Raphael, asked a federal judge to issue a nationwide preliminary injunction on President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Raphael argued it is important that "immigration law be uniform."

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Judge Leonie Brinkema, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, said a decision could "not be written overnight" given the nationwide TRO, or temporary restraining order.

Attorneys for the state of Virginia challenged the constitutionality of the executive order and said there is "overwhelming evidence" that the executive order "resulted from animus toward Muslims." In court documents, Virginia also said the state, its residents and its public universities would be harmed by the order.

For example, they said university students and faculty from countries named in the executive order who are in the U.S. on work or student visas can’t leave the country for fear of not being allowed back in.

Brinkema pushed U.S. government lawyers to present evidence that would support their case. "The courts have been begging you to provide some evidence and none has been forthcoming," she said, adding that the order has "all types of deficiencies."

"There is strong evidence from the national security community that this order does not do what it purports to do," Brinkema said. "There is strong, colorful evidence for the motives of this order."

She added that the "order seem to be counterproductive to its purpose of national security," referring to the joint declaration written by former national security advisors and secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, Avril Haines, Michael Hayden, John Kerry, John McLaughlin, Lisa Monaco, Michael Morell, Janet Napolitano, Leon Panetta and Susan Rice.

"We view the Order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer," they wrote. "In our professional opinion, this Order cannot be justified on national security or foreign policy grounds. It does not perform its declared task of 'protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.’"

An attorney for the Department of Justice, did not offer specific answers to Brinkema’s questions only saying that the president has inherent authority and the right to make national security determinations, not the courts.

The Justice Department lawyer also argued that the state of Virginia did not have standing to challenge the ban and there was no imminent harm to anyone.

Outside the courthouse following the hearing, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said the ban was “conceived in religious bigotry.”

"The record is clear. The words of President Trump himself and his closest advisors all indicate he wanted a religious ban that he could dress up just enough to make it look legal. We are asking the Court to see this ban for what it is,” said Herring.

“We presented considerable evidence that this ban is motivated by religious animus and undermines our national security, while the Administration failed to refute any of our evidence or enter a single piece of its own evidence to support its claims. I believe the Judge heard the facts fairly, and I think the facts and evidence are overwhelming that this ban is unlawful, unconstitutional, un-American and should be overturned."

ABC News' Audrey Taylor contributed to this report.

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