JCPA Files Interfaith Amicus Brief in Support of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program

by Haya Luftig

Interfaith coalition of national and local organizations file amicus brief in lawsuit
challenging Executive Order that effectively bans refugee resettlement

New York, NY — Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and Catholic Charities USA filed an amicus brief with 27 interfaith partners in a lawsuit challenging the Executive Order permitting state governors and county executives to veto refugee resettlement within their borders. The brief supports a motion for preliminary injunction, which would halt the Executive Order’s implementation and enforcement while the case proceeds.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland by HIAS, Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), challenges the legality of the Executive Order, which would require the nine U.S. resettlement agencies—including HIAS, CWS, and LIRS—to obtain written consent from the states and localities in which they plan to resettle refugees. Without that consent, resettlement will cease, preventing refugees from reuniting with friends and family, and undermining resettlement infrastructure.

“JCPA is proud to have taken a leading role in filing this brief in support of HIAS and the other national refugee resettlement agencies. Current law requires that state and local governments be consulted regarding refugee resettlement. This is reasonable. However, no state or local government should be permitted to prohibit resettlement of refugees in its jurisdiction. To do so will, among other negative consequences, inhibit family reunification,” said David Bohm, Chair of JCPA’s Policy Advisory Committee and one of the authors of the brief.

The amicus brief argues that the faith traditions of the amici command us to welcome refugees, the most vulnerable among us. In Jewish law, we are instructed no fewer than 36 times that “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

Pending the Court’s decision on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, JCPA is working with Jewish community relations councils in states across the country to successfully secure public consent decrees.

A number of JCPA member agencies joined the brief, including the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Labor Committee, National Council of Jewish Women, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and Union of Reform Judaism, as well as the St. Louis, Greater Washington, and Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Councils. Click here to read the full brief and click here for the list of amici.


About the Author


Haya Luftig