STATEMENT — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Applauds Decision by Hawaii Federal Judge to Halt Revised Travel Ban

March 15, 2017   (Updated March 16, 2017)

Update: After the decision was reached in Hawaii, District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang, in Maryland, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on March 16, 2017 prohibiting the enforcement of the 90-day ban against travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Press Contacts:

Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org; 410-230-2841

Michelle Blundell
mblundell@mrss.com; 202-478-6176

WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) applauds today’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson to freeze President Trump’s ban on refugees arriving in the United States, merely hours before it was set to take effect.

“Today’s decision is good news for all those courageous people living in fear, remembering all they have lost, but never losing hope that a better future is possible. These are the people LIRS and our partners around the country seek to serve – the determined and resilient survivors of war and persecution, determined to protect their children, and grateful to those who offer them welcome and a new start. Today’s court ruling blocking the implementation of the travel ban that has needlessly endangered the lives of refugees and halted immigrants and visitors to the U.S. defends the law and our American values,” said Linda Hartke, president and CEO of LIRS.

“We will fight for our right to love the neighbors that God gives to us, and open our hearts and communities to the small fraction of one percent of the world’s refugees that our country admits each year after extensive vetting,” continued Hartke.

“Today, the outpouring of support for refugees and Muslim immigrants from local churches, campuses, workplaces and neighborhoods is turning back the tide of mistruths and hate that have threatened who we are as America, and our judicial system is once again taking the right stand to protect our country from ill-informed and discriminatory policies.”

Unfortunately, today’s decision did not affect the section of the President’s executive action that drastically decreases the number of refugees who will enter the U.S. this year from 110,00 to 50,000, leaving thousands of families in limbo and in danger. However, it is encouraging to see that despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to ‘soften’ the latest executive order, the Judge and millions of others across the country can see that this new order is just as concerning as the original one, particularly its intention to target Muslims.

“Today’s decision reinforces our American ideals to be compassionate, welcoming, and accepting of our neighbors and to denounce hate at every possible corner. Today and tomorrow, our nation still stands for welcoming refugees.”

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Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.