HIAS Responds to Supreme Court Announcement on Refugee and Muslim Ban

Updated 2:16pm
United States Supreme Court announced an emergency stay to partially lift the injunctions against President Trump’s March 6 executive order. The order narrows refugee resettlement and travel from six Muslim-majority countries to individuals who can prove a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” until the Supreme Court can rule on the constitutionality of the ban. The injunctions were put in place by federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii, and upheld by the Fourth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit.

Additionally, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the appeal of the decision issued on May 25 by the Fourth Circuit in IRAP and HIAS v. Trump, together with Hawaii v. Trump. The plaintiffs in the former case, which was first filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland in February, are HIAS, IRAP, and several other groups and individuals impacted by the proposed executive order.

In response, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:

“HIAS welcomes the ruling as an affirmation that the President does not have unfettered unchecked authority to bar refugees from the United States without evidence to justify such action. We also welcome the ruling as confirmation that there are limits to the President’s ability to bar non-citizens from the United States based on unsubstantiated presumptions relating only to their nation of birth.

“We are pleased that those with family and other ties to the United States, including refugees fleeing violence and persecution, will not be subject to the arbitrary exclusion of the Executive Order. The Administration appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the orders upheld by the Ninth and Fourth Circuits would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to the United States. We feel, however, that these shameful executive orders cause ‘irreparable damage’ to America’s standing in the world as a beacon of welcome and human rights, and to the United States’ tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants in a way that we have not seen in over fifty years. 

“For the American Jewish community, this hearkens back to our darkest days of the 1920s to 1940s, when America last broke with its tradition of welcoming refugees by imposing discriminatory and tragic admissions criteria based entirely on where people were born. The results of those discriminatory laws and policies, particularly for those trying to escape the Nazi genocide in Europe, were tragic. The result of this executive order to allow arbitrary criteria to turn away refugees and other non-citizens will also have tragic results, demonstrating that we have forgotten the lessons we learned. The Fourth and Ninth Circuit courts recognized that neither the Constitution nor the laws of this country permit the President to exercise such potentially harmful authority without evidence to justify the tragedies that will inevitably result. We hope that, in the fall, the Supreme Court will recognize the same.”

HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to mobilize in support of welcoming refugees. We believe that in the face of the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, the United States should be doing more—not less—to help refugees find safety.


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