Refugee Agencies Sue Trump Over Executive Order

Today HIAS,  Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), took Donald Trump to court over his recent executive order giving state and local officials authority to block refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions. These agencies are suing the administration because it is attempting to enact a state-by-state, city-by-city refugee ban.

“It was not that long ago that Jews and African-Americans were banned from living in certain neighborhoods and towns. We fought to end that discrimination and humiliation. Now the Trump Administration has issued an executive order which allows states and localities to ban resettled refugees? We won’t tolerate such intolerance,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS President and CEO. “We are, once again, suing the federal government to end this unlawful and immoral state and local refugee ban.”

The lawsuit charges that the order is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to dismantle the nearly 40-year-old federal resettlement infrastructure and restrict refugees from entering the United States. The order could prevent refugees who have waited years and passed all vetting from being reunited with their U.S.-based families. Communities could also be stopped from welcoming refugees, even if they have long-standing and successful resettlement programs.

The president’s order, signed on September 26, would require resettlement agencies, including HIAS, CWS, and LIRS, to obtain written consent from all localities and states in which they plan to resettle refugees. If written consent cannot be obtained, it could prevent resettlement agencies from maintaining local affiliate offices that provide essential services to refugees already in the area.

According to the complaint, filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Maryland, the executive order violates federal law, which requires federalagencies to make decisions about where refugees are to be placed within the United States according to a detailed list of factors, leaving no room for state and local governments to veto such decisions.

HIAS sued the Trump administration in 2017, when the president’s executive order called for halting refugee resettlement and banning people from seven majority Muslim countries with an exception for non-Muslim religious minorities.

HIAS, CWS, and LIRS, are represented by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). The defendants are President Trump; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Melissa Keaney, Senior Litigation Staff Attorney for IRAP called the order “a back-door attempt to decimate the refugee resettlement program.” and noted that a single local politician should not be able to stop Americans who have been waiting years to reunite with family members.

A copy of the complaint is available here.


Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
Speaker: Melnathan
Mediation: Private Courts
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Instagram: @commissionermelnathan


One thought on “Refugee Agencies Sue Trump Over Executive Order

  1. Surely thanks goes to everyone who is fighting for refugee program in the USA

    USA was one of the best countries resettle many refugees every year,but since trump entered power,everything was disconnected

    Lgbti refugees are really on a great risk in their refugee camps and urban centers,especially Nairobi Kenya

    Many of us have gone through a lot of us being gays lesbians which is mostly shows we are destroying the community I wonder how

    This is what we are and we can’t change

    African countries are against gay rights, especially Uganda very homophobic

    So we bring our great co Concerns to keep on pushing till you reach on the final decision

    I wish USA can comeback like the ones of before

    To many lgbti cases are on hold on the US embassy,especially those who are pending the USCIS interview, let me hope things will change as you continue advocating

    Thanks again and again to fight for lgbtiq rights, we also people and we deserves rights like other humans

    Best of luck in everything


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