Clinton-Appointed Judge Blocks U.S. Communities, States from Stopping Refugee Resettlement

Residents in support of continued refugee resettlement hold signs at a meeting in Bismarck
James MacPherson/AP Photo

A federal judge, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, has blocked American communities and states from stopping refugee resettlement — a power that President Trump granted to them through an executive order last year.

Judge Peter Messitte granted a preliminary injunction to refugee contractors who sued Trump for implementing an executive order that allows states and counties to have a say in whether they want refugees resettled in their communities.

The executive order immediately prompted the lawsuit, with three of the nine refugee contractors filing suit, including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).

These refugee contractors, who have a monopoly over refugee resettlement, have a vested interest in making sure as many refugees are resettled across the U.S. as possible because their annual federally-funded budgets are contingent on the number of refugees they resettle.

The other six refugee contractors include:

Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), International Rescue Committee (IRC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and World Relief Corporation (WR).

LIRS officials celebrated the preliminary injunction in a statement, calling it “an important first step” against Trump’s refugee reforms.

“We’re grateful to Judge Messitte for upholding the rule of law and ensuring that the United States remains a place of welcome for the world’s most vulnerable,” LIRS President Krish O’Mara Vignarajah said. “We have been successfully collaborating with communities and federal, state, and local governments for decades, and this ruling allows us to seamlessly continue that life-saving work.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas said Trump’s allowing states and counties to decide on refugee resettlement “would interfere with the ability of refugees to obtain the services they need to resettle in our nation.”

CAIR has been declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates and was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-funding operation. CAIR has also repeatedly defended suspected terrorists.

Already, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is the only governor in the country to request that refugee resettlement be halted in his state. Meanwhile, 42 governors have asked the State Department to resettle more refugees in their states — including these 19 Republican governors:

  • Bill Lee of Tennessee
  • Mike DeWine of Ohio
  • Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
  • Kim Reynolds of Iowa
  • Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
  • Gary Herbert of Utah
  • Doug Burgum of North Dakota
  • Chris Sununu of New Hampshire
  • Doug Ducey of Arizona
  • Eric Holcomb of Indiana
  • Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma
  • Pete Ricketts of Nebraska
  • Kristi Noem of South Dakota
  • Jim Justice of West Virginia
  • Mike Parson of Missouri
  • Brad Little of Idaho
  • Larry Hogan of Maryland
  • Mike Dunleavy of Alaska
  • Phil Scott of Vermont

For fiscal year 2020, Trump will continue cutting refugee admissions by reducing former President Barack Obama’s refugee inflow by at least 80 percent. This reduction would mean a maximum of 18,000 refugees can be resettled in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020. This is merely a numerical limit and not a goal federal officials are supposed to reach.

Since 2005, nearly 860,000 refugees have been resettled across the U.S. — a population that is more than 80 times the size of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Effectively, for the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 refugees have been resettled in the country, equivalent to adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the U.S. every year.

Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.

The case is HIAS, Inc. v. Trump, No. 8:19-cv-03346-PJM in the U.S. District Court of Southern Maryland.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.