Amidst ongoing legal battles, Congress must act now to stop President Trump’s Executive Order

By Oxfam

Boston – Oxfam applauds today’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to maintain the temporary suspension of the Executive Order banning refugees and travelers from seven Muslim countries. Today’s ruling underscores the need for both legal and legislative action to definitively overturn the ban. This discriminatory and un-American ban must not remain in legal limbo. While today’s court decision appropriately extends relief to thousands of people, it does not permanently abolish the Executive Order. Today’s ruling is just another step in the long battle ahead to reverse this injustice.

“President Trump’s discriminatory and harmful Executive Order is currently facing several legal challenges across the country, including the ACLU of Massachusetts lawsuit, in which Oxfam America joined as a plaintiff,” said Raymond Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Several judges have stood up to President Trump’s harmful actions. But lawsuits are not enough. Oxfam is calling on Congress to use its power to stop this Executive Order immediately.”

The Executive Order has been widely derided – by Oxfam supporters, over 100 tech companies, legal experts, dozens of mayors and local elected officials. Americans across the country are joining with their community groups, churches, synagogues, and mosques to continue to welcome refugees into their communities. Now is the time to demand that our representatives in Congress hear the public outcry and stand up to President Trump by working to overturn the ban.

“Regardless of repeated falsehoods, the US refugee vetting is already ‘extreme,’” continued Mr. Offenheiser. “It’s an exhaustive screening process that can take over two years due to required screenings, in-person interviews, investigations, and clearance by a host of government agencies including the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and intelligence agencies.

An estimated 20,000 refugees who would have traveled during the next 120 days and who have already gone through a rigorous, multi-agency vetting process lasting two years were immediately impacted by the ban. Additionally, over 40,000 refugees who were approved for resettlement have also been forced to put their families and lives in limbo due to this hasty action by President. These actions by President Trump are causing unacceptable harm to the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Mr. Offenheiser.

The Executive Order bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days, imposes bans on refugees on the basis of their religion, and blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“This action runs counter to the fundamental values that Americans cherish as a welcoming and inclusive country. It also flies in the face of reasonable and moral thinking as we face the most serious refugee crisis the world has ever seen since World War II. Oxfam calls on Congress to immediately pass veto-proof legislation that will dismantle the Executive Order so that our country may continue to live up to the noble values upon which it was founded,” said Mr. Offenheiser.

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