DUMPING GROUNDS: Federal Judge Blocks Trump Plan to Let States Like Texas Block Refugees

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
By Paul Martin

By Jose Nino
Jan 21, 2020

Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch reported on U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s recent ruling to keep the Trump administration from reforming its refugee program.

Three faith-based national resettlement agencies — HIAS Inc., Church World Service Inc., and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service— requested that Messite issue the preliminary injunction.

Mark Hetfield, the CEO of HIA said that it is “unkind and un-American to ban refugees from your states and towns” in response to Trump issuing an executive order that gives states a say in whether they will accept refugees or not. He celebrated Messitte’s ruling.

Back in September Trump issued the executive order declaring that the federal government would only resettle refugees if states and local governments had agreed to do so. This move gave states de facto veto power over whether they would resettle refugees. The government is looking to appeal the injunction order.

“State and local governments are best positioned to know the resources and capacities they may or may not have available to devote to sustainable resettlement, which maximizes the likelihood refugees placed in the area will become self-sufficient and free from long-term dependence on public assistance,” the order declared.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently announced that Texas would lead the way in opting out of refugee resettlement. He stated that “Texas has carried more than its share in assisting the refugee resettlement process” and that it “continues to have to deal with the consequences of an immigration system that Congress has failed to fix.”

However, opponents of this order believe it is illegal and unconstitutional. Additionally, they contend that it would ruin the refugee program and have “disastrous consequences not only for Plaintiffs and eligible refugees but for the image of the United States as a beacon of liberty,” according to language in the ruling.

On the other hand, the Trump administration believes the order is lawful and sustains that because the president has the power to determine how many refugees will be resettled he also has the ability to mandate whether states have the authority to decide whether they want them or not.

Trump announced that the U.S. would bring in only 18,000 refugees for the fiscal year of 2020. This is a significant reduction from the limit of 110,000 former President Barack Obama set back in 2016.

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