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A lawsuit brought before a Maryland appeals court seeking to stop President Trump’s temporary ban on new visas from six Middle Eastern countries was filed by a left-wing group financed by billionaire George Soros.
The second group behind the lawsuit was massively funded by the federal government under the Obama administration to resettle refugees within the U.S.
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On Monday, Bloomberg reported on the status of the lawsuit:
The Richmond-based appeals court on Monday offered to accelerate its review of the case, which would speed it along to the U.S. Supreme Court by skipping the traditional oral argument before three judges in favor of an initial full-court hearing. The parties have until March 30 to decide if they want that accelerated schedule.
The suit before the appeals court was filed by the International Refugee Assistance Project, HIAS, a refugee resettlement group established in the 19th century to aid Eastern European Jews, the Middle East Studies Association of North America and six individuals.
Similar to the current suit, the International Refugee Assistance Project was also a signatory to a lawsuit filed last January attempting to block Trump’s original executive order halting visas for 90 days for “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.
The International Refugee Assistance Project is located at the Urban Justice Center.
The Urban Justice Center is also the recipient of an Open Society grant.
Taryn Higashi, executive director of the Center’s International Refugee Assistance Project listed in the Trump lawsuit, currently serves on the Advisory Board of the International Migration Initiative of Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
The other group signed on to the lawsuit is the nonprofit HIAS, which describes itself as standing “for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety and freedom.”
Unmentioned in much of the news media coverage about the lawsuit is that HIAS has taken large sums in federal grants to help resettle refugees, as this reporter previously documented.
HIAS specializes in refugee resettlement and in 2015 received 65.3 percent of its annual $25 million budget from government grants.
Annual grants include funds from the State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. Another major donor is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In 2015, the State Department provided $17,663,704 and the Department of Health and Human Services gave another $2,765,195.
The fiscal year 2014 saw a $16,959,850 State Department grant and $2,546,469 in funds from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Guidestar documented that in 2013, HIAS received $16,261,661 from government and intergovernmental agencies and took in a total of $31,218,870 in revenue.
In 2012, $14,707,399 in government grants were donated to HIAS and the organization produced $27,677,240 in revenue.
In 2008, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, a division of the UN Economic and Social Council, officially accepted HIAS as an accredited NGO.
HIAS openly states on its website that it is the “only Jewish organization designated by the federal government to undertake” refugee resettlement, which “lies at the heart of HIAS’ work.”
The group is partners with local Refugee Assistance Organizations around the country to “ensure successful integration.”
“Although this can be a long process requiring the participation of many actors, refugees bring the resilience and resourcefulness that saved their lives at home,” HIAS relates.
HIAS was an acronym that previously stood for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and it originally worked to resettle Jewish emigrants from Russia. It dropped the full title and only goes by the acronym now. Mark Hetfield, HIAS president and CEO, told the Washington Jewish Week in December 2014 the word “Hebrew” was exclusionary and outdated, comparing it with the use of the word “colored” to refer to African Americans.
Soros, meanwhile, has reportedly provided some $76 million for immigrant issues over the last decade alone.
In 2014, the New York Times credited “immigrant rights groups” financed by Soros and a handful of other donors with influencing President Obama’s immigration policy.
The newspaper reported:
When President Obama announces major changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement system as early as next week, his decision will partly be a result of a years-long campaign of pressure by immigrant rights groups, which have grown from a cluster of lobbying organizations into a national force.
A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.
In August, Breitbart Jerusalem first reported hacked documents from Soros’s Open Society Institute boasted that the billionaire and his foundation helped to successfully press the Obama administration into increasing to 100,000 the total number of refugees taken in by the U.S. annually.
The documents revealed that the billionaire personally sent President Obama a letter on the issue of accepting refugees.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott and Joshua Klein.