CWS Statement on Halt of Rewritten Refugee Ban

March 15, 2017


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After the Hawaii Federal District court issued a restraining order on the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and Muslims, CWS issued the following statement:

“The courts have spoken yet again, affirming the will of the American people who stand with immigrants and refugees. Today’s ruling is another assertion that the refugee and Muslim ban should never have been issued in the first place. CWS is heartened by this halt, which will enable us and other refugee resettlement agencies to continue to welcome refugees. Just like its first rendition, this rewritten executive order remains discriminatory, misguided and unconstitutional. No amount of tweaking can change this. We urge the administration to rescind this entire order, and trust that our justice system will ultimately prevail in this attack on human rights,” said Erol Kekic, Executive Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program.

The restraining order stops three parts of the executive order: the provision to bar individuals from six Muslim-majority countries; the four-month suspension of refugee resettlement; and the drastic reduction of refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000. The executive order would turn our backs on refugees we promised to protect, who have already been approved by the Department of Homeland Security, and for whom resettlement is their last hope for safety. It would also grind resettlement to a halt, as security checks would expire during a four-month suspension, forcing refugees to repeat processes while their lives are in danger.

“CWS will continue mobilizing our congregations and networks nationwide to safeguard America’s welcome of refugees and immigrants, as pledged in our recently released ecumenical declaration. We further reiterate our call to all Members of Congress to exhibit moral courage by doing everything in their power to fully rescind this executive order, which does not reflect American values or their constituents. Above all, we continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with refugees and our Muslim brothers and sisters.”  

Earlier today, on behalf of churches and denominations representing more than 30 million Americans, CWS and the National Council of Churches delivered letters to President Trump and to Congress, urging them to stop this executive order.

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about CWS’ work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at