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A Settlement Reached in Jewish Family Service v. Trump Takes a Small but Important Step Toward Rebuilding Refugee Resettlement

Major Settlement Secures Relief For Refugees Left Behind by Refugee Ban,” International Refugee Assistance Project, February 10, 2020

This week, the federal government reached a settlement with plaintiffs in Jewish Family Service v. Trump, a case challenging the October 24, 2017, executive order often referred to as the refugee ban. The executive order suspended refugee resettlement for individuals from 11 countries—nine of which are majority-Muslim—and indefinitely blocked the ability of refugees already admitted into the United States to be reunited with their spouses and children living abroad, often in dangerous and unsustainable circumstances.

Under the new agreement, the government will expedite the resettlement cases of more than 300 refugees who were in the final stages of processing when the executive order was issued—individuals whose cases have been stalled for more than two years. These newly admitted refugees will be counted against the annual cap established in the fiscal year 2018 presidential determination. This is an important factor considering the amount of admissions slots made available by the president for FY 2020—18,000—was the lowest in history.

The settlement is an important win for the refugee community broadly and an enormous relief for the individuals whose lives have been put on hold—and badly disrupted—by the illegal delay in processing. It also signals a small but important return to the notion that the United States will stand by its commitments to people around the world looking to America for a durable humanitarian solution.

For more on how rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in the years ahead can help to restore the rule of law in the U.S. immigration system, see CAP’s report, “Restoring the Rule of Law Through a Fair, Humane, and Workable Immigration System.”