A federal judge issued an injunction Wednesday to block an order by
President Donald Trump that would allow states and cities to turn away
foreign refugees, saying the measure is most likely illegal.
Maryland District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte granted the restraining
order against Trump's executive order, issued last September, until the
legal challenges are resolved. The presidential order had been set to
take effect in a few days.
The ruling is a victory for refugee advocates who feared the order would grant veto power against refugee settlement.
"[The order] does not appear to serve the overall public interest,"
Messitte wrote in a 31-page decision. "Refugee resettlement activity
should go forward as it developed for the almost 40 years before
[Trump's order] was announced."
Trump said the order is intended to give U.S. communities a say in
deciding whether they want to accept refugees from war-torn nations and
migrants fleeing persecution. Resettlement agencies argue that giving
local-level officials vet power dismantles an existing network of
support and threatens refugees' access to housing, employment and
English language classes.
The order calls for "a process to determine whether the state and
locality both consent, in writing ... before refugees are resettled."
Forty-two state governors and more than 100 local governments have
indicated they welcome refugees. Texas, which received more refugees
than any other state last year, said this month it won't accept any new
refugees. Gov. Greg Abbott said the state has "carried more than its
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