Refugee advocates outline arguments for legal action on presidential ban

Flags near the Washington Monument are seen in Washington Jan. 27. In response to President Donald Trump's executive order suspending the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president, said the Catholic Church "will not waiver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors." CNS photo | Tyler Orsburn

By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The breadth of President Donald Trump’s authority to limit refugees entering the United States will be fought in federal court and some of the legal challenges ultimately may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several lawsuits have been filed challenging Trump’s Jan. 27 executive memorandum that suspended the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days and banned entry of all citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — for 90 days.

Another clause in the memorandum established religious criteria for refugees, proposing to give priority to religious minorities over others who may have equally compelling refugee claims.

In five of the earliest lawsuits, federal judges blocked the government from denying entry to anyone from the affected countries with a valid visa.
One decision came from U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. in Los Angeles, whose Feb. 1 order “enjoined and restrained” the government from enforcing the president’s memorandum against 28 plaintiffs from Yemen who have been held in transit in Djibouti since the president signed the document. Similar orders have come from federal judges in Boston; Seattle; Brooklyn, New York; and Alexandria, Virginia.