Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Stay of Trump’s Travel Ban

WASHINGTON—Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling in the challenge to President Trump’s March 6 executive order barring the resettlement of refugees for 120 days, banning the entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, and cutting the overall number of refugee admissions for the year by more than half. The challenge was initiated by the State of Hawaii on behalf of individuals impacted by the executive order, and supported by HIAS and other refugee and human rights advocates in the public and private sector.

After hearing oral arguments before a three-judge panel on May 15, the court has affirmed the injunction on the parts of the order that would suspend entry of nationals from the six designated countries, suspend refugee admissions for 120 days, and cap the number of refugees to be admitted this fiscal year at 50,000. This ruling will allow refugees to continue finding safety in the United States through the refugee admissions program, unless the Supreme Court chooses to reverse the Ninth Circuit.

“Once again, the courts have affirmed that discriminating against someone on the basis of their religion or nationality runs contrary to our country’s founding values,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS. “There have been dark periods in the history of the United States when we have ‘banned’ victims of war or marginalized groups. As a nation, we must resist the temptations to return to being a country that defines itself by who it keeps out, as opposed to who it welcomes.”

Judges in the Fourth Circuit, who heard oral arguments on May 8 for the case initiated by HIAS, IRAP and several other groups and individuals impacted by the executive order, recently upheld a preliminary injunction against the ban issued by a lower court. The court wrote in that decision that the order “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to review that decision.

“The ongoing wave of public opposition to this ban has been a source of inspiration to those working to preserve America’s welcome of  people of all faiths and nationalities. The American Jewish community’s support will continue to sustain HIAS and others as we strive to honor the history and values that have empowered our own communities to grow and to contribute to the country that gave refuge to us and to our ancestors,” Hetfield added.

The amicus curiae brief filed jointly by refugee resettlement agencies HIAS, the IRC and USCRI in the Ninth Circuit case is available here

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