Human Rights First, Veterans Organizations, File Amicus Brief in Refugee Ban Case

Human Rights First and its project Veterans for American Ideals, along with No One Left Behind and Vietnam Veterans of America, filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case of Trump v. International Refugees Assistance Project in support of the thousands of refugees targeted by the Trump Administration’s travel ban. The brief was prepared by Dechert LLP, led by Eric Brunstad in the firm’s Hartford, Connecticut office.

“The Trump Administration claims that the refugee ban is necessary to protect national security, but the reality is that blocking refugees harms more than helps U.S. interests,” said Human Rights First’s Scott Cooper, founder of Veterans for American Ideals. “Unnecessarily barring refugees jeopardizes the stability of U.S. allies in the Middle East, betrays promises to Iraqis who risked everything to assist our efforts in the region, and undermines U.S. military operations and personnel.”

Human Rights First notes that the United States’ refugee vetting procedures—which include extensive and comprehensive interviews as well as multiple rounds of security vetting with a wide array of U.S. and international intelligence and law enforcement agencies—are widely recognized as the most stringent in the world by former U.S. military leaders and former U.S. national security officials, who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations. Former CIA directors, national security advisors, and secretaries of defense, state, and homeland security have explained that resettling refugees advances U.S. national security interests, and that halting refugee resettlement harms U.S. national security.

Accepting refugees and encouraging other countries to do so advances U.S. interests by supporting allies and other front-line refugee hosting nations whose stability is critical to U.S. foreign policy and security interests.  Per 1,000 individuals, Turkey hosts 35 refugees, Jordan hosts 89, and Lebanon hosts 173. If the United States were to admit only 50,000 refugees, the rate in the United States would be less than 1 per 1,000.

“Barring refugees jeopardizes the stability of U.S. allies, erodes essential goodwill by reneging on promises made to certain refugee groups, makes it more difficult for the United States to recruit hearts-and-minds support abroad, and undermines the ability of the United States to pursue military operations,” added Cooper.

Many Iraqis and their families who served the U.S. military, government, contractors, NGOs, and media are now in danger due to that service. Congress gave these Iraqis direct access to the U.S. resettlement program through the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act because of their relationships with the U.S. military and other U.S. entities. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been waiting for years already to be resettled, in dangerous situations.

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