Judge Peter Messitte, who appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s order giving states and counties authority to decline refugees on an annual basis.
After the executive order was released in September 2019, a total of nine refugee contractors filed the lawsuit. Three of them are the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). These refugees contractors 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).
Messitte said in his 31-page memorandum opinion that the refugee resettlement groups that sued “are clearly likely to succeed in showing, that, by giving states and local governments veto power over the resettlement of refugees within their borders, the order is unlawful,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The judge also said that giving authority to the states to decide whether to accept refugees “flies in the face of clear congressional intent” as it conflicts with the Refugee Act.
Already, 42 governors have notified the White House that they will keep taking refugees in, including 19 GOP governors.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is the only governor in the country to request that refugee resettlement be halted in his state. Abbott announced on Jan. 10 that Texas would not accept refugees for the year and said that, since Texas has accepted more of them than any other state for years, it was time for other state governments to step up.
For 2020, President Trump will continue cutting refugee admissions by reducing former President Barack Obama’s refugee inflow by at least 80 percent. The administration had already set the 2020 refugee cap at 18,000, the lowest number since the U.S. refugee program began in 1980.
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 Trump administration blasted the decision in a statement Wednesday evening from the White House press secretary, saying, “Another lawless district court has asserted its own preferred immigration policy in place of the laws of the United States—and, in so doing, robbed millions of American citizens of their voice and their say in a vital issue directly affecting their communities. President Trump rightly and justly recognized that your communities are unique, and while some cities have the resources to adequately support refugees and help them be successful, not all communities can sustain the substantial and costly burden.”
“This is a preposterous ruling, one more example of nationwide district court injunctions run amok, and we are expeditiously reviewing all options to protect our communities and preserve the integrity of the refugee resettlement process,” the statement continued.