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HIAS Statement in Response to Federal Court Ruling in Maryland

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GREENBELT, MD—This morning, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued a ruling in the HIAS v. Trump lawsuit that enjoins part of the March 6 travel ban executive order. The ruling follows the emergency hearing that took place in a Maryland District Court yesterday, where attorneys from the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center presented arguments. 

The ruling reads in part, “the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban...The removal of the preference for religious minorities in the refugee system, which was the only explicit reference to religion in the First Executive Order, does not cure the Second Executive Order of Establishment Clause concerns.”

While Judge Chuang declined to extend the injunction to suspend the refugee ban in the Executive Order as well, only hours earlier a federal judge in Hawaii issued a separate restraining order halting the implementation of the section dealing specifically with refugees and also against the six country ban. The Hawaii order remains in effect, so the refugee program remains open, even though President Trump’s March 6 Executive Order would have closed it at 12:01am this morning.

Following the ruling, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement:

“We asked the court to intervene in order to protect thousands of refugees’ lives. While we are encouraged by Judge Chuang’s recognition of the un-Constitutional and cruel nature of Trump’s Muslim ban, we will continue to press the court to go as far as Hawaii and block the refugee provisions of the order, which are the other half of the Muslim ban. As a Jewish organization that has worked to protect refugees since 1881, we will continue to follow the Torah’s command to welcome the stranger, even as our own government discriminates against refugees.

“Two federal judges have now ruled that all of the operational provisions of the revised Executive Order are likely unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause. The judicial intervention over the past 24 hours prevented a grave impending harm to the world’s most vulnerable people, but this is only the first step. President Trump’s intent to ban Muslims and refugees remains deeply troubling. That fact will not change, and neither will our resolve to return America to its tradition of welcome.” 

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