FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jan. 15, 2020
WASHINGTON—The U.S. District Court in Maryland issued an injunction today, blocking the implementation of the Administration’s Executive Order 13888, which would allow states and localities to block refugee resettlement in their communities.
Three refugee resettlement agencies — Church World Service, HIAS and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service — challenged the Executive Order with a lawsuit, in collaboration with the International Refugee Assistance Project.
“We applaud the injunction and the protection it will provide refugees,” said Nili Yossinger, National Director of Refugee Congress. “Refugee resettlement in the U.S. needs to be protected and supported so that vulnerable migrants fleeing violence, persecution and war can continue to find a safe haven in our country. This injunction will prevent refugees from being turned away from states and localities where there are systems already established to support them and reunite them with family members.”
Since the announcement of the Executive Order, continued refugee resettlement has received bipartisan support, with 42 governors and many local governments declaring they would continue to welcome refugees. Last week the governor of Texas announced he would block refugee resettlement in that state, a decision Refugee Congress condemned as shortsighted and cruel.
“I was deeply disappointed when Governor Abbott announced his decision,” said Hadidja Nyiransekuye, a Refugee Congress Honorary Delegate from Texas. “I’m relieved that this court injunction has been issued, but I’m still concerned about the welcome refugees receive in Texas. I urge the governor to reconsider his position.”
Drocella Mugorewera, a Refugee Congress Board member and Delegate from Tennessee who is a resettled refugee from Rwanda, said that refugees contribute to the U.S. in many ways.
“Refugees are not a burden. They have helped build America for decades,” said Mugorewera. “Refugees need America, and America needs refugees. Many employers are reaching out to resettlement agencies to look for employees. Refugees get jobs done and do jobs many others do not want to do.”
The refugee crisis worldwide is at an all-time high, with 26 million refugees in need of aid while less than one percent are ever resettled. However, the Administration’s Presidential Determination for 2020 set a record-low refugee admissions cap at just 18,000. The historic average for yearly refugee admissions has been 95,000.
Refugee Congress is a nonpartisan advocacy organization built and led by former refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants to promote the well-being, integration and dignity of all vulnerable migrants. With delegates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we use our voices and experiences to inform and influence decision-makers on critical domestic and international issues that affect our communities. www.refugeecongress.org.