Bishop Vasquez welcomes federal appeals court ruling on refugee ban


(CNS) — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration welcomed a
federal appeals court ruling that upheld a temporary restraining order against President
Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries
that also temporarily suspended the country’s refugee resettlement program.

respect the rule of law and the American judicial process. We remain steadfast
in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing
persecution,” Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, said in a statement
Feb. 10.

this time we remain particularly dedicated to ensuring that affected refugee
and immigrant families are not separated and that they continue to be welcomed
in our country,” the statement said.

bishop pledged that church agencies would continue to welcome people “as
it is a vital part of our Catholic faith and an enduring element of our American values and

In a decision issued late Feb. 9, a
three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the
government’s argument to lift the freeze on the president’s order and
maintained that the court had jurisdiction in the case as a check on
executive power.

had argued that his order was a matter of national security and that the courts had no
claim to adjudicate the issue.

panel ruled otherwise saying that such an argument “runs contrary to the
fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

administration is expected to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

said in a posting on Twitter minutes after the ruling was released: “SEE YOU IN

He later told
reporters that the judges had made “a political decision.”

The case
was filed by the state of Washington, which argued that Trump’s order was
unconstitutional because it discriminated against Muslims and that state
agencies were harmed because students and employees were barred from
re-entering the country. The state of Minnesota subsequently joined the

District Court Judge James Robart of Seattle halted Trump’s travel ban Feb. 3 by
granting a temporary restraining order.

Several lawsuits have been filed challenging Trump’s
Jan. 27 executive order that suspended the entire U.S. refugee
resettlement program for 120 days and banned entry of all citizens from seven
majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia
— for 90 days.

Another clause in the order established
religious criteria for refugees, proposing to give priority to religious
minorities over others who may have equally compelling refugee claims.

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