Texas Becomes First State to Refuse Refugees Under Trump Order

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday became the first governor in the United States to refuse to accept refugees under an executive order requiring local jurisdictions to actively opt in to the federal resettlement program.

The decision is a major blow to the program since Texas is the largest recipient of refugees in the country.

“At this time, the state and non-profit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and the homeless,” Abbott, a Republican, said in his letter to the U.S. State Department.

“As a result, Texas cannot consent,” to refugee resettlement this fiscal year, he said.

A State Department official said the executive order signed by President Donald Trump only affects the federal government’s decision about where to place refugees immediately after they arrive. It does not apply to a refugee’s spouse or unmarried children under 21 who are being admitted to join them in the United States, the official said.

Refugees who are initially settled in another U.S. state can subsequently move to Texas, but they would not have access to federal resettlement benefits, such as housing, there, resettlement agencies say.

“This is a deeply disappointing decision,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and chief executive officer of the resettlement agency Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). “Historically, Texas has served as a beacon of hope for refugees from across the globe.”

So far, 41 governors – 18 of them Republican – and at least seven dozen local officials have consented to resettlement, according to a LIRS tally.

Florida and Georgia, other major recipients of refugees, have so far remained silent on their stance. The governor’s office in Florida said it was still reviewing the issue and Georgia declined to comment.

Cutting immigration has been a centerpiece of Trump’s presidency and 2020 re-election campaign. One of his first acts after assuming office in January 2017 was to issue an order capping the maximum number of refugees that year at 50,000. Since then, the cap has been slashed every year.

Trump set a ceiling of 18,000 refugee admissions for this year, the lowest level since the modern refugee program began in 1980. By contrast, former Democratic President Barack Obama proposed resettling 110,000 refugees in the 2017 fiscal year ending in September.

Approximately 2,500 refugees were resettled in Texas in the 2019 fiscal year, down 70 percent from fiscal 2016, according to State Department data.

The administration has said the consent requirement, signed in September, aimed to ensure receiving communities have the resources to integrate refugees.

But refugee resettlement groups have argued that giving local governors and mayors a veto over whom they accept is unconstitutional and would disrupt the way they work.

Three of the nine national resettlement agencies sued the Trump administration in federal court in an effort to block the order from being implemented.

Arguments in the case were held this week, and U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte in Greenbelt, Maryland, appointed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, could rule on the case soon.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York; additional reporting by Kristina Cooke in Los Angeles and Ted Hesson in Washington D.C.; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sonya Hepinstall)

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Sandra Jenkins
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Do resettlement groups get paid to handle the immigrants? Why does the US have to accept any alien? If we didn’t dangle money and resources at them they wouldn’t come. They need to stay home and work together to improve their own countries. And if they do come they need to be placed in every Democrat’s neighborhood. Put their money where their open border mouths are.

General Confusion
Member

“Refugee havens in MI and MN is why we have reps Tlaib and Omar. Consider that.”

I am confused.

What’s the problem with electing one of their own to represent themselves? That sounds like a democracy (or for the braindead here, a “democraticly elected representive republic”), to me.

The key word is representive. If you don’t like that kind of representation, move to a different state or country.

General Confusion
Member

I Ching should rejoice that we bring in refugees and migrants. That way these “unskilled” workers can do the “unskilled” work that HE had no interest in doing.

And, since the U.S. is a socialist state (mainly for the rich), undocumented immigrants contributed $13 billion into the Social Security funds in 2016 and $3 billion to Medicare, according to New American Economy, which they are NOT ALLOWED to collect later. So, again, I Ching, and especially the Confused James, should rejoice at their contributions to the programs through which THEY CAN collect.

Tom Bodine
Member

No Problemo Senor

Screwtape
Member

Good for TX. Refugees cost local money. Lots of it. The OMB estimates $1.8 billion per year for housing, welfare, and education. Medical costs run this up further.

That’s taxpayer money and it goes on for years as the majority of refugees lack education, job skills, or cultural compatibility. q.v. the Somalis in MN (Omar’s district) who joined ISIS.

Screwtape
Member

Refugee havens in MI and MN is why we have reps Tlaib and Omar. Consider that.

NG agencies like Lutheran Ministries and various Catholic orgs are to blame. They make money off refugees and from our tax dollars.

Look it up. It’s another profit-making racket, err, enterprise, like the American Cancer Society or Goodwill.

Jeffrey Moore
Member

Too many immigrants, be they refugees or otherwise, destroy a culture. Our culture of liberty based on hard work and godliness is unique in all the world and exceptional as well. It absolutely needs to be preserved. The Left will not realize how good it is until it’s gone.

Morte206
Member

Makes sense to care for those already there before attempting to absorb more. There’s a reason immigration was sharply curtailed in the country last century: ASSIMILATION.
Assimilation wasn’t / isn’t just for the new immigrant it’s for the existing community too.

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