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HIAS Responds to U.S. Reaching Resettlement Cap of 50,000 Refugees, and Refugee Ban Going Into Effect

SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, the State Department confirmed that more than 50,000 refugees have officially been admitted to the United States for resettlement this fiscal year, surpassing the revised limit set by the Trump administration. Consequently, the administration’s restrictive interpretation of last month’s Supreme Court order will go into effect beginning tomorrow.

HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, is a plaintiff in one of the two key cases challenging the ban that will be heard together by the Supreme Court in the fall. Until the Court reviews the case, refugees must prove they have a “bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity” in order to enter the country. According to the administration, “bona fide” familial relationships do not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

The Department of Homeland Security has also clarified that an assurance for resettlement from one of the nine national refugee resettlement agencies, including HIAS, does not qualify as a requisite tie or “bona fide” relationship with an entity in the United States.

As a result, dozens of refugees whose travel to the United States had already been booked past July 13 have had their travel canceled because they did not have a “bona fide” relationship as defined by the administration.

In response, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:

“Today, the Trump administration, without consulting with Congress, has started to enforce the lowest refugee ceiling since Congress unanimously passed the Refugee Act of 1980. Countries much smaller and poorer than the United States are hosting much larger numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, while the U.S. is doing less and less.  

“As a Jewish organization that protects refugees, we are reminded of the other shameful times in our history when America slammed its door shut on people fleeing for their lives. Turning away refugees leads to tragic results — we must not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

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Advocacy