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HIAS Statement on Trump Administration’s Interpretation of Supreme Court Ruling

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SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, the U.S. State Department issued guidance on how the administration will apply the Supreme Court’s ruling on admitting refugees and travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries identified by President Trump's Muslim and refugee ban executive orders. The Supreme Court’s narrow decision kept the lower courts’ injunction in place for all individuals who can prove a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

HIAS has learned that ties to resettlement agencies are not expected to be considered as a “bona fide relationship” for a refugee. This will be in place after July 6, when the U.S. is expected to have resettled 50,000 refugees for the fiscal year. Refugees arriving after that date will be subject to the new rules.

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

“More than five months after the chaos of the first attempt to ban Muslims and refugees from entering the United States, this administration continues to do whatever it can to keep refugees out for no justifiable reason. This time, by violating a Supreme Court ruling that clearly should allow in refugees with bona fide relationships with people or entities in the United States. These are refugees who, after fleeing for their lives, have met every requirement for resettlement, and have worked with the U.S. government and U.S.-based organizations for months or years to pass all of our tests. The administration is not acting out of security, as refugees resettled to America are more carefully vetted than any other new arrivals have been in U.S. history.

“The administration’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s order is legally and morally wrong. Refugees cannot simply come to the United States, they must first be invited by our government. Further, while the Supreme Court said that approved refugees with ‘bona fide relationships’ with U.S. entities should not be turned away, the administration plans to turn them away, respecting some 'bona fide' relationships, but ignoring others.

“HIAS and its supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to work every day to create welcoming communities, because we know that refugees, when given an opportunity, make great neighbors and great new Americans.”

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