FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2017
IRAP APPLAUDS COURT DECISION GIVING HOPE TO THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES IN LIMBO
HELLER: “The decision is a sign of hope for those vulnerable refugees who rely on the United States’ resettlement program as their only lifeline. Thousands of refugees had already made arrangements with communities, family members, and organizations preparing to welcome them to the United States. We expect our government to honor that commitment.”
(New York, NY) – Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the government’s appeal in Hawaii v. Trump, clarifying that assurances from United States refugee resettlement agencies meet the criteria of a “bona fide relationship.” This decision allows refugees cleared for travel to be exempt from the administration’s Muslim ban executive order. The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center, which filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the ruling, applauds this decision, which brings relief to thousands of vulnerable refugees.
Contrary to the government’s initial implementation of a previous Supreme Court order, this ruling exempts refugees from the 120-day ban, if their cases have already been assigned to refugee resettlement agencies. This important clarification could affect thousands of refugees, who had already been thoroughly vetted and approved for travel to the United States.
“The decision is a sign of hope for those vulnerable refugees who rely on the United States’ resettlement program as their only lifeline. Thousands of refugees had already made arrangements with communities, family members, and organizations preparing to welcome them to the United States. We expect our government to honor that commitment,” said Becca Heller, IRAP’s Director.
The decision of the 9th Circuit Court comes after a July 13 ruling, which significantly expanded the category of “bona fide relationships” that exempt travelers from the ban to include a wider set of family ties, as well as certain relationships with refugee resettlement agencies. The Supreme Court blocked the district judge’s ruling soon after — allowing refugees with family relationships in the United States to continue to travel, but blocking travel for those with assurances until the appeals court reached a decision. Today’s ruling maintains that extended family ties count as bona fide relationships, while also including assurances from resettlement agencies.
The Supreme Court will hear the case Trump v. IRAP in the upcoming October 2017 term to consider the legality of the Muslim ban in its entirety.
To view the press release, click here.
International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center