Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Allows Refugee Ban Lawsuit to Continue

On March 29, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion by the government to dismiss the appeal and vacate the injunction in JFS v. Trump, which challenges the Trump administration’s October 24 ban on refugees that suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries and stopped the follow-to-join process for family members of refugees already in the United States. The Court rejected the administration’s argument that the appeal and the injunction are moot because the challenged ban has ended, after the plaintiffs had argued that they are entitled to find out whether the suspensions were continuing in another form.

“We are gratified the Ninth Circuit has remanded our case. Allowing this process to continue ensures our government remains accountable to the rule of law and to the people it represents. Right now, it is not only the American refugee admission program that is under attack but also our core American values,”  said Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO. “During this time when our Jewish community recalls our plight as refugees we feel even more resolved in our efforts to support those who are seeking a place of safety and security for their families and the principles that have made our country a beacon of hope to so many across the world. ”

The case will now return to the district court, where in December Judge Robart largely blocked the restrictions from being implemented for refugees with bona fide relationships to the United States. While the judge’s decision should have brought relief to many of the affected individuals, including the plaintiffs, it is still unclear, even months later, how the administration is implementing the order. The plaintiffs will therefore be seeking discovery.

The individual plaintiffs, including an Iraqi man hiding in Egypt who had worked as a translator for the U.S. military and a Somali refugee trying to be reunited with his wife and son, have not gotten closer to finding relief. Instead, the United States is slated to accept the lowest number of refugees since the modern refugee program began in 1980.

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