NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge in the United States on Wednesday ruled to block an executive order from President Donald Trump that only allows refugees to be resettled if state and local officials agree to accept them.
In November, a coalition of refugee resettlement groups filed a lawsuit in Maryland to stop the executive order signed by Trump in September.
Last week, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, who resettles more refugees than any other state, became the first state official to refuse to accept refugees.
The last ruling, issued by federal district judge Peter Messitte, temporarily prevents the US government. UU. Enforce that position. The United States Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling.
So far, 42 governors, 19 of them Republicans, and more than 100 local governments have given their consent for resettlement, according to a count of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit. Florida and Georgia, two other states that receive a large number of refugees, have not taken a public position on resettlement.
Melanie Nezer of HIAS, a non-profit American Jewish group that resettles refugees and is a plaintiff in the case, said in an email that for now, “refugee resettlement will continue as before, even in Texas and in the small number of states and counties that have no consent was given. ”
The Trump administration has said that the consent requirement was intended to ensure that communities that receive refugees have the resources to integrate them into their populations.
However, refugee resettlement groups say giving local governors and mayors a ban on who they accept is unconstitutional and would affect the way the groups function.
Reducing immigration has been a centerpiece of Trump’s presidency and the 2020 reelection campaign. One of his first acts after taking office in January 2017 was to issue a half-reduction order for a plan implemented by the Democratic President Barack Obama, to resettle 110,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017. Since then, the limit has been reduced every year that Trump has been in the office
By 2020, the administration set a maximum limit of 18,000 refugee admissions, the lowest since the modern refugee program began in 1980.
Trump said during a campaign rally in October in Minnesota that he had fulfilled his promise to “give local communities a greater voice in refugee policy” and increase background research.
Immigration experts argue that newcomers, who are carefully selected and enter the country with legal status, often fill jobs quickly and contribute to local tax revenues.
The State Department’s guide to the nine national resettlement agencies published last year said the groups should obtain the consent of the governors and county executives in the areas where refugees will be placed. Agencies must submit funding proposals to the State Department before January 21.
Mica Rosenberg Report; Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang edition