American Bar Association
Section of International Law: International Refugee Law Committee

Section of International Law:
International Refugee Law Committee

IRLC Social Networking

Who We Are

The International Refugee Law Committee (IRLC) is concerned with the fundamental human rights of refugees around the world, rights that refugees can rarely assert and are often denied. The committee seeks to educate its members and the public about issues in this field, to foster critical discussion toward a greater realization of refugee rights, and to stimulate legal and policy advocacy on behalf of refugees worldwide. To effect these goals, the committee seeks to host programs and conferences; advise section members on news and legal developments; issue written comments and analyses on the implications of U.S. laws and policies for international refugee rights; provide networking opportunities; participate in governmental and international forums; and promote refugee rights at the international level.



The International Refugee Law Committee will be hosting our monthly teleconferences on every 2nd Thursday of the month, message us on our Facebook page to receive dial-in details.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Refuge newsletter is accepting submissions on refugee and asylum topics, for quarterly release. Contact the editors at



ENGLAND: A 72-year-old Eritrean man finds refuge with a British couple after his asylum request was denied.

BRAZIL: Compassiva, a local NGO, is assisting refugees with gaining recognition of their education credentials by the government, to gain access to employment.

BURUNDI: Over 400,000 refugees from Burundi have fled violence to Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and other neighboring countries.



Dec 22nd: A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle affirmed the decision of a federal judge in Hawaii who ruled on Oct. 17 that the 3rd revision of the travel ban was unlawful on statutory grounds.

Dec 4th: The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue.

Oct 17th: U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson grants Hawaii's request to temporarily block the federal government from enforcing the third revision of Executive Order 13769.

Sept 24th: As part of the travel ban expired, the White House announces an expanded order, "Travel Ban 3.0", restricting visitors from eight countries: Iran, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. The announcement of the new restrictions has caused the U.S. Supreme Court to cancel its October hearing to review it.

Sept 11th: The U.S. Supreme Court blocks the 9th Circuit ruling that could have allowed almost 24,000 refugees into the country. The Justice Department filed an emergency, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary freeze.

Sept 7th: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that refugees accepted by a resettlement agency should not be banned.

July 19th: The U.S. Supreme Court affirms Judge Watson's earlier ruling to expand President Trump's 'travel ban' to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

July 13th: U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii ruled to expand the 'travel ban' exceptions to include travelers who have grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and brothers- and sisters-in-law in the U.S. The judge also said that contrary to government policy, refugees cannot be blocked if they have “formal assurance” from U.S. resettlement agencies for relocation to the country, even if the refugees do not have relatives in the U.S.

June 26th: The U.S. Supreme Court rule to partially enforce travel ban, until they take up the case in the Fall. The court is allowing the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States." The court, in an unsigned opinion, left the travel ban against citizens of six majority-Muslim on hold as applied to non-citizens with relationships with persons or entities in the United States, which includes most of the plaintiffs in both cases. Examples of formal relationships include students accepted to US universities and an employee who has accepted a job with a company in the US, the court said.

June 12th: A three-judge panel from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban, on Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Judges Michael Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez said the travel ban violated immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality when it comes to issuing visas and by failing to demonstrate that their entry would hurt American interests.

May 25th: The Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration's controversial travel ban, becoming the second circuit court to uphold lower court rulings against the policy. "Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation," the chief judge of the circuit, Roger L. Gregory wrote.

May 15th: The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments, for the Justice Department's appeal in favor of President Trump's travel ban. This is the second time that the 9th Circuit has been tasked with deciding the fate of the President's executive order. In February, Judge Robart in Seattle halted the original travel ban nationwide, and a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit declined to reinstate it.

March 15th: Two federal judges rule against President Trump's revised travel ban. A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order blocking the executive order. A second federal judge in Maryland ruled against Mr. Trump with a separate order forbidding the core provision of the travel ban from going into effect.

February 13th: Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia issued a preliminary injunction for Virginia residents only, asserting that the President's executive order violates First Amendment prohibitions on favoring one religion over another.

February 7th: The Ninth Circuit hears oral arguments (full audio) on the government's appeal of the lower court decision to halt the President's travel ban.

February 3rd: Judge James Robart in Seattle orders nationwide halt to enforcement of Trump’s immigration order (full video).

January 28th: The full text of Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York order blocking part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

January 27th: Full Text of President Trump’s Executive Order Limiting Refugees into the U.S.



Patterson, Emily
Weckel, Heather


Apedo, Shekinah
Bennett, Althia
Minwalla, Sherizaan
Olagbegi-Oloba, Banke
Sull, Hardeep

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Modified by Shekinah Apedo on February 7, 2018

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