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UPDATE: On Dec. 23rd, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a ruling largely blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s most recent refugee restrictions which suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are predominantly Muslim, for a minimum of 90 days. The restrictions also stopped the follow-to-join process, which reunites family members with refugees already in the U.S. For full press release, click here.
On November 13, 2017, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, along with Jewish Family Service of Seattle and individual plaintiffs, filed a class action suit in federal district court to challenge the Trump Administration's latest refugee ban.
As stated in the press release:
"Refugee-serving agencies and individuals challenged President Trump’s most recent executive order banning refugees in federal district court in Seattle today. The executive order blocks for at least 90 days refugee resettlement from 11 countries and indefinitely pauses the follow-to-join program, which reunites spouses and children with refugees already in the United States."
"A nationwide preliminary injunction motion on both restrictions will be filed in the coming days. The lawsuit charges that the order is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to suspend refugee admissions without authority and to ban refugees from entering the United States. The new restrictions would block a significant number of refugees seeking resettlement to the United States through the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). The order also directly targets Muslims, as approximately 80% of all Muslim refugees who resettled in the United States in the past two fiscal years have been from nine of the 11 blocked countries."
"The plaintiffs in the case are Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley and Jewish Family Service of Seattle -- both local partners of national refugee resettlement agency HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees -- along with individuals, including U.S. citizens and those with family members who are impacted by the new refugee restrictions. These include refugees in the final stages of their resettlement process who are now trapped in limbo, parents who are desperately trying to reunite with their displaced children, and a military supervisor hoping to save his Iraqi interpreter’s life."
Why Jewish Family Services Sued The Trump Administration
November 13, 2017
Mindy Berkowitz, Executive Director
At Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley (JFS SV), we proudly protect refugees from all over the world who flee persecution. They flee because they are Christian, Zoroastrian, Bahai, Mandean, Muslim, – and yes, Jewish. They may be gay or transgendered. The people we help are escaping dire and often violent circumstances. We do this because our Jewish values compel us to do it. The value of “welcoming the stranger” and “treat the stranger as you would be treated” is the commandment mentioned most – no fewer than 36 times in the Torah.
It is out of these deeply held values and unwavering commitment to this lifesaving work that we joined today with Jewish Family Service of Seattle as co-plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the most recent refugee ban Executive Order, imposed by President Trump on October 24. This latest Executive Order blocks refugee resettlement from eleven countries for at least 90 days and indefinitely pauses the program for refugees already living in the United States to be reunited with their spouses and children. The lawsuit is seeking a nationwide injunction on both restrictions and charges that the order is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to suspend refugee admissions without authority and ban refugees from entering the country.
All of JFS SV’s services to refugees are built around the goal of helping refugee clients become economically self-sufficient, integrated, and civically engaged. In partnership with HIAS, JFS SV serves refugees from the moment they arrive at the airport until after they become naturalized citizens. The relationship that JFS SV staff establishes with our refugee clients continues for years, long after the individuals have transitioned out of refugee status.