Cheers as Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order Allowing Localities to Refuse New Refugees

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order giving states and localities the power to refuse to resettle refugees.

“This injunction provides critical relief,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). LIRS is one of three faith-based resettlement agencies that had sued to block the September order. “Those who have been waiting for years to reunite with their families and friends will no longer have to choose between their loved ones and the resettlement services that are so critical in their first months as new Americans,” Vignarajah said. 

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte issued a temporary injunction (pdf) and wrote that President Donald Trump’s order flies “in the face of clear statutory text and structure, purpose Congressional intent, executive practice, judicial holdings, and Congressional doctrine.”

The block comes just days after Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott drew outrage from human rights advocates by announcing his state would take advantage of Trump’s order by refusing to accept the resettlement of new refugees.

Lawyer and U.S. immigration policy expert Sarah Pierce, in a tweet, said that the Messitte’s order “essentially nullifies” Abbott’s decision.

Immigrant rights group RAICES welcomed the temporarily block and its effect on refugees in Texas.

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Andrea Germanos