Today, Oxfam announced the submission of amicus briefs in the United States Court of Appeals in both the Ninth and Fourth Circuits.
The amicus briefs support plaintiffs challenging President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on refugees and immigration, stating that the ban risks the lives of potentially tens of thousands of people worldwide and poses a direct threat to Oxfam’s humanitarian mission.
Oxfam has worked in more than 90 countries to end poverty and injustice over the past 70 years. Not only does Oxfam employ staff in four of the six banned countries, but we also provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance in refugee camps around the world. Oxfam is alarmed that the executive order severely, irreparably, and unnecessarily harms refugee families around the world and international organizations like Oxfam.
“The refugee ban is an affront to the core values of this country and extinguishes the Statue of Liberty’s torch that for decades has welcomed the ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’” said Raymond Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America.
“The ban would separate families, leave people already in the country with difficult choices, and lead others not to visit in the first place. The ban would also prevent organizations like Oxfam from using one of our key educational tools—bringing staff and affected individuals to the United States so they can bear witness to the hardships occurring overseas. These efforts are central to the effectiveness of our work by helping us to support local communities in these countries create lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.” said Mr. Offenheiser.
Even a temporary halt on refugee admissions can mean years of additional waiting. Given the multiple, overlapping and time-sensitive medical and security screens imposed by the process, refugees effectively have only a two month window to travel once their screens are complete before screens begin to expire. The shutdown of the program essentially resets the clock and sends thousands of refugees already vetted by our nation’s security experts back to the end of the line. Given the peril in which refugees live, this is extra time that many simply do not have.
The discriminatory Executive Order suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocks citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Fourth Circuit will hear oral arguments on Monday, May 8, and the Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments on Monday, May 15.
Tell President Trump: we cannot slam the door on vulnerable refugees in their hour of need.