Federal appeals court will hear April arguments in Alabama’s refugee lawsuit

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A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in April on Alabama’s lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement.

The Montgomery-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals announced a tentative argument session set for the week of April 24.

The arguments were scheduled for appeal after a federal judge dismissed the state’s lawsuit that claimed the federal government didn’t ask for Alabama officials’ input about the settlement of Syrian refugees. The consultation is a requirement of the Refugee Act of 1980, according to Gov. Robert Bentley.
Bentley announced his refusal to relocate the refugees following the Paris attacks in November 2015. Stating that unless federal officials provided background check and medical information to the state, they were not welcome in the Yellowhammer State.
In July 2016, Chief United States Magistrate Judge John E. Ott ruled the state’s claims were too vague, and issued the dismissal, writing that the Refugee Act of 1980 did not allow states a right to a cause of action to enforce the law.
“As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” Bentley said in a news release.
“The District Court based its dismissal on a technicality, a finding that Alabama may not sue to enforce the Refugee Act; the District Court did not find that the federal government was fulfilling its obligations under the Act.”
The state filed the appeal in August 2016.