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Press Release // Refugee Resettlement

Federal Judge Grants Global Refuge’ Motion to Block Executive Order on Refugee Resettlement

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Global Refuge Staff

January 15, 2020

In a Victory for Refugee Resettlement, Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Against Trump Administration Executive Order

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org | 443-257-6310

Baltimore, MD – A federal judge today issued a preliminary injunction against a Trump administration executive order requiring state and local governments to issue explicit consent in order to continue refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions. Global Refuge, along with two other resettlement agencies, filed a complaint challenging the executive order in November 2019.

“We’re grateful to Judge Messitte for upholding the rule of law and ensuring that the United States remains a place of welcome for the world’s most vulnerable,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge. “We have been successfully collaborating with communities and federal, state, and local governments for decades, and this ruling allows us to seamlessly continue that life-saving work.”

The judge’s ruling temporarily suspends the requirement that resettlement agencies include state and local letters of consent in their proposals for federal funding ahead of the January 21st submission deadline.

“This injunction provides critical relief,” added Vignarajah. “Those who have been waiting for years to reunite with their families and friends will no longer have to choose between their loved ones and the resettlement services that are so critical in their first months as new Americans.”

The preliminary injunction comes on the heels of Texas Governor Abbott’s  decision to publicly refuse consent for continued refugee resettlement. While affirmative consent is necessary to participate in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program under this executive order, state or local officials need not explicitly reject resettlement.

“This is an important first step, but this fight is far from over. We do not expect the Administration to back down from using these vulnerable people as political pawns. But we will continue to stand for welcome and trust and pray that the law will still protect the most vulnerable who are fleeing war, violence, and persecution.”

As of press time, 42 states and nearly 100 local governments have consented to continue refugee resettlement in their communities.

The court’s opinion can be viewed here.

The judge’s order can be viewed here.

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