Cleary Gottlieb Files U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief Supporting Continued Admission of Unaccompanied Refugee Minors

September 12, 2017

Cleary Gottlieb today filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the Trump Administration’s emergency motion to refuse admission of refugees, including unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), who have received assurances of resettlement from a U.S. resettlement agency, while the Supreme Court considers constitutional and statutory challenges to Executive Order 13780 (EO-2).

The brief was filed on behalf of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and seven current and prospective foster families for child refugees.

EO-2 is the President’s executive order barring entry of foreign nationals from six designated countries and suspending portions of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.  URMs are children who are admitted to the United States as refugees and placed with foster families and/or in similar living arrangements.  LIRS is one of two national voluntary resettlement agencies working with URMs.

Two U.S. courts of appeal have held that EO-2 exceeds the President’s authority, either because it is contrary to the Immigration and Nationalities Act or because it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.  On October 10, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument concerning the merits of those decisions.

In the meantime, the Court has suspended implementation of EO-2 as to individuals with a “bona fide relationship” to U.S. persons and entities.  On September 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that refugees who have received assurances of resettlement from a U.S. resettlement agency, including URMs, have such a bona fide relationship and made its decision effective after five days.  The government filed an emergency motion to stay that order, and the Supreme Court required responses within one day.  LIRS’s brief urges the Supreme Court to keep the Ninth Circuit’s decision in place.

“We submit this brief today to highlight the plight of dozens of refugee youth who, but for the arbitrary application of a bona fide relationship, would have had a chance at finding a home in welcoming communities across the country,” said Jessica Jones, LIRS policy counsel.

“The goal of our brief is to help the Court understand the critical connections that the tremendous efforts of LIRS and their partner agencies, as well as the foster parents and families involved, forge with the refugee children,” explained Cleary Gottlieb partner Nowell Bamberger.

“It is a privilege to represent the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the selfless individuals who are opening their homes and hearts to children in great need,” added Cleary Gottlieb partner Matthew Slater.

The brief was authored by Cleary Gottlieb partners Matthew D. Slater and Nowell D. Bamberger, and associates Michael R. Noveck, Jonathan E. Amgott and Taylor H. Bates, together with LIRS policy counsel Jessica Jones.

Click here for a copy of the brief.