Baltimore, MD – The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled against a Trump administration executive order requiring state and local governments to issue explicit consent in order to continue refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, along with two other resettlement agencies, filed a complaint challenging the executive order in November 2019 and won a preliminary injunction in January 2020.
“This ruling provides critical relief,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “Those who have been waiting for years to reunite with their families 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.”
When the Executive Order was still in effect and required refugee resettlement agencies to obtain explicit consent from state and local authorities, 42 governors and more than 100 local authorities affirmed their willingness to continue resettlement. Texas Governor Abbott was the sole dissenter who formally voiced his opposition to welcoming refugees.
“The Trump administration made it possible for states and localities to use refugees as political pawns, but it had the opposite effect. We saw a tremendous outpouring of community support, from sea to shining sea,” noted Vignarajah. “These welcoming communities represent the full diversity of America — from urban to rural, conservative to progressive. Neighbors came together to sift fact from fiction, and decided overwhelmingly to welcome refugees.”
Vignarajah concluded, “The urgency of the moment calls for love and compassion, and a recommitment to uphold the American legacy of hospitality for those who need it the most. It is our civic duty to advocate for the voiceless and hold those in power accountable for restoring the humanitarian principles that have long guided our nation’s moral leadership.”
Read the full 4th Circuit Opinion here