Governors Can’t Block Refugees, Court Says

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A federal judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration policy that would have allowed governors and other local leaders to prevent refugees from resettling in their areas. The decision from Maryland-based Judge Peter Messitte comes just days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott became the first and only state leader to opt out of the program, the Texas Tribune reports. Officials had until Jan. 21 to inform the State Department whether they would participate in the program.

At least 42 governors said they would accept refugees. “By giving States and Local governments the power to veto where refugees maybe settled …  [the order] does not appear to serve the overall public interest,” Messitte said. The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Church World Service sued the Trump administration alleging the executive order violates federal law. Texas has been one of the leading states for resettlement in recent years, reaching a high of 8,212 people in 2009.

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