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2016-10-06

Texas signals possible withdrawal from Resettlement Program

Special to the Courier

Last week Gov. Greg Abbott authorized a letter from the State of Texas to be sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in Washington, DC, giving official notice of an intention to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program should ORR not unconditionally approve Texas’ state plan by Friday, Sept. 30.
The letter, dated Sept. 21, resulted from ORR officials’ unwillingness to approve Texas’ updated state refugee plan, which would require national security officials to ensure that refugees do not pose a security threat to Texas. As required by ORR, Texas’ withdrawal from the refugee resettlement program will be effective on Jan. 31, 120 days after the Sept. 30 deadline.
Abbott issued the following statement on Texas’ intention to withdraw from the refugee resettlement program:
“The federal government’s refugee settlement program is riddled with serious problems that pose a threat to our nation. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence have repeatedly declared their inability to fully screen refugees from terrorist-based nations.
“Even with the inability to properly vet refugees from Syria and countries known to be supporters or propagators of terrorism, President Obama is now ineptly proposing a dramatic increase in the number of refugees to be resettled in the US.
Abbott continued, “Empathy must be balanced with security. Texas has done more than its fair share in aiding refugees, accepting more refugees than any other state between October 2015 and March 2016. While many refugees pose no danger, some pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested earlier this year after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston.
“Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people. Therefore, Texas will withdraw from the refugee resettlement program. I strongly urge the federal government to completely overhaul a broken and flawed refugee program that increasingly risks American lives.”
A copy of the letter from Texas’ State Refugee Coordinator Kara Crawford to Robert Carey, ORR director, is available at gov.texas.gov.