U.S. Federal Court Temporarily Halts Trump Administration Executive Order Undermining Refugee Resettlement

Federal judge temporarily halts Trump administration policy allowing local governments to block refugees” by Ann E. Marimow and Maria Sacchetti, The Washington Post, January 15, 2020

Today, a federal court in Maryland temporarily halted the Trump administration’s executive order requiring state and local governments to provide written consent to receive refugees—a drastic measure designed to further restrict refugee resettlement in the United States. In November, national resettlement agencies filed a lawsuit arguing that the executive order was unconstitutional because it grants state and local governments unauthorized power to veto federal resettlement decisions.

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte affirmed this argument in his 31-page decision, stating that the grant of veto power is “arbitrary and capricious as well as inherently susceptible to hidden bias.” As of last week, 42 governors had provided written consent to continue resettlement, while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) publicly refused to resettle refugees in this fiscal year. Abbott’s ruling was met with resistance from all 16 of Texas’ Catholic bishops as well as state elected officials. Today’s ruling represents a significant win in protecting the future of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holding the Trump administration accountable for its attacks on vulnerable communities, and reclaiming the rule of law in the U.S. immigration system.

For more on how to reframe the immigration debate, see CAP’s report: “Restoring the Rule of Law Through a Fair, Humane, and Workable Immigration System.”