U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte on Wednesday temporarily stopped impeached president Donald Trump’s executive order allowing states to block refugees from being resettled in their communities, saying in the ruling that “Giving states and local governments the power to consent to the resettlement of refugees—which is to say veto power to determine whether refugees will be received in their midst—flies in the face of clear Congressional intent,” The Washington Post reports.
Refugee resettlement organizations HIAS, Church World Service, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service sued the Trump administration over the move last November, saying that “The order could prevent refugees who have waited years and passed all vetting from being reunited with their U.S.-based families. Communities could also be stopped from welcoming refugees, even if they have long-standing and successful resettlement programs.”
The administration, under the watch of White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller, had already taken a sledgehammer to the U.S. refugee system, slashing admissions for the new fiscal year to 18,000, the lowest in the history of the program—and a number that U.S. officials are in no obligation to reach, either. Trump’s executive order, now temporarily halted, only intends to create further obstacles for what remains of the program.
”The resettlement agencies had asked Messitte to rule swiftly because approval letters are due beginning Jan. 21 if refugees are to start arriving in June,” The Washington Post continued. Texas was the lone state in the nation to embrace Trump’s xenophobic order, while seven states, including Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii, and Wyoming, had not yet responded by the time the judge issued the ruling.