Skip to main content

Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center

The Hawaii court’s decision stands as yet another affirmation of the executive branch's overreach in its efforts to ban refugees and Muslim travelers from the United States. The ruling—which found that relatives including grandparents, grandchildren, and aunts and uncles should be exempt from the ban—recognizes a commonsense interpretation of family and correctly implements the legal limitations on the refugee and Muslim ban imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  

The U.S. Supreme Court was clear in its holding that the ban should not prevent the reunification of close family members, yet the administration immediately defied the ruling in word and spirit by drawing nonsensical lines around who is family and who is not. To suggest grandma and grandpa should be prevented from visiting family or, worse yet, left to languish in refugee camps while the rest of the family escapes to safety is both absurd and inhumane. The Hawaii court’s ruling also recognizes that the U.S. government cannot pull the rug out from under refugees who are already far along in the resettlement process.  

The decision restores a modicum of compassion to the inherently odious ban while we await a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing that the refugee and Muslim ban is unconstitutional and runs afoul of both our statutory laws and American values.