Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo Friday that the Lone Star State would not be taking in any refugees.
This marks the first time a state has openly denied taking in refugees since President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13888, which said states and local governments must consent to refugee resettlement. So far, 42 states have approved refugee resettlement, according to the Lutheran and Immigration and Refugee Service.
Texas has been one of the top destination states for refugees for decades, usually among the top three each fiscal year. The withdrawal of Texas from the refugee program for this year (FY2020) means more refugees will be sent to the states where the governors have said “yes,” which include Tennessee, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan.
“Since FY2010, more refugees have been received in Texas than in any other state. In fact, over that decade, roughly 10% of all refugees resettled in the United States have been placed in Texas,” Abbott’s letter says.
“In addition to accepting refugees all these years, Texas has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system,” the letter adds.
In his letter, Abbott cited May 2019 as an example of how Congress has failed to fix America’s immigration problem. In that month alone, around 100,000 people were detained for crossing Texas’ southern border illegally.
“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 — indeed, all Texans,” he said. “As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020.”
At the end of his letter, Abbott noted that Texas has “carried more than its fair share” in helping with the refugee resettlement, and recommended other states “help with these efforts.”
In 2016, the governor withdrew Texas from the federal refugee resettlement program.
For the 2020 fiscal year, Trump has slashed the number of accepted refugees down to 18,000 people. This will be the lowest number since 1980, according to the Associated Press.
Read the full letter:
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]
Photo “Greg Abbott” by Greg Abbott. Background Photo “Texas Capitol” by Jonathan Cutrer. CC BY 2.0.