The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) commended the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued on September 7, 2017, upholding the district court’s finding that refugees who have received formal assurances of sponsorship from refugee resettlement agencies have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” for purposes of the Supreme Court’s July 26th opinion on the travel ban. In its decision, the court cited the amicus brief filed by USCRI, which described the extensive and personal commitment of the agency and its Network Partners to welcoming new Americans. The court cited USCRI’s amicus brief stating that, “Most of the groundwork USCRI and the local agency perform in integrating a refugee into a community is the result of significant investments of money, time, effort, and emotion made after USCRI provides its written assurance of services to the State Department, but before the refugee arrives here.” USCRI thanks the law firm of Reed Smith LLP for their expert pro bono service.
The court found that, “After the assurance is executed but before the refugee arrives, the agency makes extensive preparations that are individualized to each refugee. This advance preparation and expenditure of resources supports the district court’s determination that a bona fide relationship with the refugee exists.” The court continued that, “Even if a resettlement agency does not have “direct contact” with a refugee before arrival, this does not negate the finding that a relationship has formed.”
“We are excited and gratified that the court understands the American tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing persecution and the commitment of community organizations dedicated to helping refugees,” said USCRI CEO and President Lavinia Limon. “USCRI’s network of Partner Agencies was established well over 100 years ago on this founding principle,” Limon said.