Texas became the first US state to refuse to accept new refugees
Texas will no longer accept new refugees. He was the first state to decide on this in accordance with a recent order from the Trump administration, said AP Governor Greg Abbott.
Abbott's statement could have serious consequences for refugees arriving in the United States. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Texas has a large number of refugees in several cities, and has long been a leader in their resettlement, accepting more than any other state in the fiscal year of 2018.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, since 2002 fiscal years, Texas has resettled around 88 refugees, second only to California.
In his letter, Abbott wrote that Texas did "more than he could."
Abbott argues that the state and its nonprofits should instead focus on "those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and homeless people - all Texans."
It is not clear how Abbott's letter could affect any pending refugee case.
Refugee groups sharply criticized the Republican Governor. Ali Al Sudani, Greater Houston's Interfaith Department Program Director, said some refugees will have their flights to Texas postponed or delayed. Al-Sudani settled in Houston, having arrived from Iraq in 2009 and is now working on the resettlement of other refugees.
“This is very disappointing and very sad news, and to be honest, this is not the Texas I know,” Al-Sudani said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he met with refugees who previously served as translators or assistants to American soldiers.
“We have people fleeing the violence, people helping us in the war on terror, and the door is being shut to them,” said Jenkins, a Democrat and the county's chief administrative officer.
President Donald Trump announced in September that resettlement agencies should receive written consent from local and state officials in any jurisdiction where they want to help resettle refugees after June 2020. Trump has already reduced the allowed refugee limit in the country for fiscal year 2020, reaching a historic low of 18. About 000 refugees were resettled in the United States during the previous fiscal year.
Governors in 42 other states said they would accept more refugees, according to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which works with local agencies throughout the United States to resettle the refugees. Governors who did not vote are from Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
On the subject: How many refuge cities protecting illegal immigrants will lose
In several parts of the country, including North Dakota and Tennessee, there has been a fierce debate over whether to decide on the resettlement of refugees in accordance with an executive order. Many Republican governors found themselves between tough opponents of immigration and some Christian evangelists who believe that helping refugees is a moral obligation.
A federal judge on Wednesday heard arguments at the request of resettlement agencies to prevent the Trump administration from enforcing it.
Krish O'Mara Vinyaraja, CEO of LIRS, described Abbott’s decision as a “devastating blow to the long-standing legacy of refugee resettlement in the state.” Local officials in Houston, Dallas and other cities will not be able to accept refugees due to the objection of the governor.
“Some refugee families who have been desperate for years to be reunited with their families will no longer be able to do so in Texas,” she said.
Abbott had already tried to stop the refugees in 2015, saying Texas would not welcome people from Syria after the deadly attacks in Paris. At the time, former President Barack Obama's administration continued to send refugees to Texas and other states, led by his opponents, the Republican governors.
Al Sudani from the Greater Houston Interfaith Department noted that even if refugees are relocated to another state, they can freely move to wherever they wish within the United States.
“The very next day you can take a bus and come to Texas,” he concluded.
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