US immigration authorities have revoked over 100,000 visas of foreign nationals under US President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, although the State Department pegs the figure at 60,000.
A CNN report quoting a lawyer with the Justice Department at a court hearing in Virginia said more than 100,000 visas have been revoked since President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration and travel was signed on 27 January.
The State Department quickly responded to the report, stating, "fewer than 60,000 individuals' visas were provisionally revoked to comply with the executive order."
The revocation means a temporary halt to people trying to enter the United States but the visas could be restored later without a new application, said William Cocks, a spokesman for consular affairs at the State Department. ''We will communicate updates to affected travelers following the 90-day review,'' he said.
The immigration executive order signed by Trump last week temporarily halted the US refugee programme and imposed a 90-day suspension on people traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump said the measures would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
Although the US had imposed no travel ban on these countries earlier, the seven countries were also ''countries of concern'' under President Barack Obama as well and were subject to tougher visa procedures.
Trump, who took office on 20 January, went further by temporarily barring passport holders from those seven countries.
While the State Department issued the guidance about revoking the visas on 27 January, the day Trump signed his executive order, there was no clarity on the roll out of the order, which sparked protests at airports across the country where people had been detained and led to a wave of lawsuits filed by individuals, states and civil rights groups
According to the State Department, the US had issued over 11 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas in fiscal year 2015.