Immigration Law

Expert: Trump's Executive Order on Refugees is Illegal

Stuart Anderson, Forbes, Oct. 1, 2019

"Donald Trump’s new executive order appears designed to give veto power over resettling refugees to people who don’t like refugees and elected officials willing to play on those fears. What are the implications of this new order – and is it legal?  “[T]he Federal Government . . . should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program,” according to a White House executive order issued September 26, 2019. ... Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell Law School professor and an advisor to the National Foundation for American Policy, told me in an interview that Trump’s executive order runs contrary to the law. “The law doesn’t allow a state or locality to veto the placement of refugees,” according to Yale-Loehr. “The executive order acknowledges that under 8 U.S.C. § 1522(a)(2), the federal agency coordinating refugee policy should consult with state and local governments. But the executive order ignores subsection (a)(5), which states that ‘[a]ssistance and services funded under this section shall be provided to refugees without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, or political opinion.’ If a town tells the federal government that it doesn’t want any African or Muslim refugees, they are arguably violating that subsection.”  Discrimination might not be the only grounds to strike down the executive order. Yale-Loehr notes that while the statute requires the federal government to consult with state and local governments about the distribution of refugees, it doesn’t give such governments veto power over where refugees go."