A federal judge has placed a temporary block on enforcing an executive order from President Donald Trump that allows state and local governments to opt out of the federal refugee resettlement program.
In his Wednesday court order U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte — a Clinton appointee — wrote that “a potentially insuperable Constitutional barrier looms” on the order. By which he means that the “power to include or excluded non-citizens is ‘exclusively’ federal in nature” and “Making the resettlement of refugees wholly contingent upon the consents of the State or Local Government … thus raises four-square the very serious matter of federal pre-emption under the Constitution.”
The complaint in this case was brought by refugee resettlement agencies HIAS Inc, Church World Service Inc. and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service back in November.
“This injunction provides critical relief,” said LIRS President and CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah in a statement issued on Wednesday. “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.”
The executive order in question, which the White House announced in September says that “with limited exceptions, the Federal Government, as an exercise of its broad discretion concerning refugee placement accorded to it by the Constitution and the Immigration and Nationality Act, should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program.” (Read more from “Federal Judge Blocks Trump Policy Allowing States to Deny Refugee Resettlement” HERE)