STATEMENT – LIRS Applauds Ninth Circuit Decision to Continue to Welcome Refugees

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2017

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

WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) applauds today’s decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow refugees who have a commitment to be received by a U.S. resettlement agency and family members, such as grandparents, to be exempt from the travel ban, while the legality of the ban remains under review.

“We feel the Court made the right decision to uphold American values of protection for the most vulnerable,” said Linda Hartke. “It is quite obvious that if refugees have close bonds with extended family such as grandparents and cousins in the U.S., then this country should make every effort to keep those families together.”

The Administration must now accept the broadened definition of a “bona fide relationship” to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Portions of the travel ban still negatively affect tens of thousands of refugees who have already been thoroughly vetted by intelligence and security agencies and approved to come to the U.S., and have welcoming communities waiting to help them make a new start in the United States.

“We have known all along, throughout our 78-year history of protecting and welcoming refugees, that there is a true and ‘bona fide relationship’ between refugees and all of us who have prepared to welcome them – from local churches, community groups, social service organizations, employers, and national resettlement organizations like LIRS,” added Hartke. “Refugees are our new neighbors for whom we prepare and anxiously await their arrival.”

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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.