The federal government has just sent a clear message to states – you have to take Syrian Refugees, whether you want them or not.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave orders in November for the refugee resettlement nonprofits in Texas to halt the importation of all Syrian refugees. The federal government informed Texas, and other states who joined the battle, that they did not have the authority to reject the refugees and the International Rescue Committee in Dallas announced they would continue bringing them in anyway.
In December Texas filed suit against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee. After the battle has dragged along for months – with Syrian refugees continuing to flow into the state – Thursday Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David Godbey dismissed Texas’ lawsuit, saying the state “did not have grounds to sue” and “failed to provide a plausible claim,” reports the Texas Tribune.
Since the battle began, 229 Syrian refugees have been brought into Texas – 21 in December, and the rest this year.
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said they are considering their options. “I am disappointed with the court’s determination that Texas cannot hold the federal government accountable to consult with us before resettling refugees here,” Paxton said.
Refugee resettlement in the United States is funded by the federal government, but the state is responsible for contracting with local nonprofit organizations and distributing federal dollars to those agencies.
The International Rescue Committee is celebrating their victory. Jennifer Sime, senior VP, said, “The court is unequivocal in validating the lawfulness of the refugee resettlement program and reaffirms Texas’ legacy in welcoming refugees.”
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