States Must Accept Refugees, Judge Rules, Blocking Trump’s Order

Texas became the first state to announce that it would no longer take refugees.

Residents holding signs in support of refugee resettlement at a meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, last month.James MacPherson/AP

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s executive order that allows states to refuse to resettle refugees. Last week, Texas announced that it would stop accepting refugees under President Donald Trump’s September order, although 40 states have affirmed that they will continue to take them in.  

In a preliminary injunction issued on Wednesday, Maryland federal district court judge Peter Messitte decided that allowing Executive Order 13888 to remain in effect is likely illegal. Messitte wrote: 

By giving States and Local Governments the power to veto where refugees may be resettled—in the face of clear statutory text and structure, purpose, Congressional intent, executive practice, judicial holdings, and Constitutional doctrine to the contrary—Order 13888 does not appear to serve the overall public interest. Granting the preliminary injunctive relief Plaintiffs seek does. Refugee resettlement activity should go forward as it developed for the almost 40 years before Executive Order 13888 was announced. 

Read Messitte’s opinion below:

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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