Judge upholds rights of Iranian Christian refugees
About 90 U.S.-bound refugees trapped in Austria have a little more hope for the future after a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government must re-address their cases. The group of mostly Christians and some other religious minorities traveled from Iran to Austria through a refugee pathway set up by the United States’ Lautenberg Amendment. Once they arrived in Vienna, their applications to continue through to the United States were denied. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled Wednesday that the federal government could not issue a mass denial, as it did in the Iranians’ case, but must provide each person with individualized reasons for their rejections within 14 days. Having case-by-case information will help the Iranians appeal the decisions about their status. “The court takes no position on, and has no authority to review, the ultimate determination of plaintiffs’ applications, so long as any re-issued notices comply with the Lautenberg Amendment and agency procedures,” Freeman wrote.
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