1. Statement
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Welcomes 9th Circuit Decision Upholding Block of Muslim and Refugee Ban

By Rebecca Harris, Yasmine Taeb, June 12, 2017


As an organization committed to making the United States a more open, welcoming place, FCNL is heartened by the 9th Circuit's decision to maintain the block of President Trump's executive order barring refugees and individuals from six Muslim-majority countries.

On June 12th, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled unanimously to uphold a preliminary injunction against President Trump's March 6th executive order. This executive order, often referred to as a Muslim and refugee ban, would bar individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and suspend the entire refugee resettlement program.

Directly citing an amicus brief signed by FCNL, the decision states that the executive order would risk the vitality of entire refugee assistance programs.

"We are overjoyed that the 9th Circuit has upheld the block on this discriminatory, unconstitutional executive order," FCNL Lobbyist for Human Rights and Civil Liberties Yasmine Taeb said. "In doing so, the court has demonstrated its commitment to honoring the U.S. Constitution and upholding our nation's core values in the face of strong opposition."

This decision is more significant than a similar ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25th, Taeb said. While the 4th Circuit blocked only the travel ban portion of the executive order, the 9th Circuit decision blocks provisions related to the refugee resettlement program as well. As long as the 9th Circuit's preliminary injunction remains in place, the Trump administration will not be permitted to suspend the refugee resettlement program or reduce its resettlement goal to 50,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017.

In their ruling, the three judges do not use the term "Muslim ban" but state that the executive order was "issued with an intent to disfavor people of Islamic faith.” Directly citing an amicus brief signed by FCNL and 28 other faith-based organizations, the decision also states that the executive order would “risk the vitality of entire refugee assistance programs and resettlement efforts.”

The Trump Administration will almost certainly ask the Supreme Court to review this ruling, as it did following the 4th Circuit decision. In the meantime, Taeb said, it is important for constituents to continue to advocate for welcoming policies and full funding for refugee accounts.

"These decisions are clearly significant," Taeb said, "but as anti-Muslim protests and hate crimes become increasingly common, we must do more to show that America welcomes Muslims and refugees." Encouraging constituents to take part in pro-refugee advoacy throughout the week of World Refugee Day, which falls on June 20th, Taeb said that "this is a perfect opportunity for American communities to stand up and demonstrate that our commitment to welcome runs deep."

Advocacy Resource What Will You Do for World Refugee Day? 

In the weeks leading up to June 20th, recognized internationally as World Refugee Day, we are calling on local comunities to voice their support for refugees. Towards that end, we have compiled a set of resources to help you find local events, post about refugee issues on social media, and tell your members of Congress that our communities welcome people in need.

Update FCNL Joins 48 Faith-Based Organizations in Filing Brief Opposing the Muslim Ban Executive Order 

Alongside 48 other faith-based organizations, FCNL filed an amicus brief in opposition to President Trump's executive order barring refugees and individuals from a number of Muslim-majority countries.

Rebecca Harris

  • Program Assistant for Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Rebecca Harris works closely with Legislative Representative Yasmine Taeb on issues including the Syrian refugee situation, the United States’ “War on Terror,” military use of lethal drones, and the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. As Program Assistant, she conducts research, meets with congressional staff, and drafts letters and other materials.

Yasmine Taeb

  • Legislative Director for Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Yasmine directs FCNL’s work on a number of human rights and civil liberties issues, including lobbying for increased resettlement of refugees, more transparency and oversight of the U.S. lethal drones program, calling for the closure of Guantanamo, and for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF, among other issues.