The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals has upheld a ban on an executive order by President Trump which aimed to give state and local governments the ability to refuse refugees.

CBS DFW reported on the decision:

The three-judge panel said the executive order that required both state and local entities to give their consent before allowing refugees to be placed in their areas “would cause inequitable treatment of refugees and undermine the very national consistency that the Refugee Act is designed to protect.”

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte of Maryland blocked the executive order in January of 2020, six months before it was to go into effect. Messitte said the process of resettling refugees should continue as it has for nearly 40 years, with resettlement agencies deciding where a person would best thrive.

Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and HIAS — a Jewish nonprofit — are some of the organizations that sued in November of 2019 to block the executive order. The agencies erroneously stated that the executive order “was an attempt at a state-by-state ban on refugees.”

Only one state, Texas, had said it would use the new power to stop refugee resettlement.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the agencies were prepared to go to the Supreme Court had they lost the appeal.

“What made me worry about the executive order was it reflected the desire to make this program susceptible to political pandering when you’re talking about lives on line,” she said. “That was deeply troubling.”

Now Vignarajah said the agencies can concentrate on rebuilding the refugee program that is expected to be restored by President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged to set the annual refugee admissions cap at 125,000.

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Updated: Tue, Jan 26th 2021 @ 12:10pm EST