- Texas will no longer accept the resettlement of new refugees
- Will become the first state to do so under President Trump’s order
- Texas ‘has been left to deal with disproportionate migration issues’ he said
- Abbott’s announcement could have major implications for refugees
Texas will no longer accept the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under a recent Trump administration order, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.
Abbott’s announcement could have major implications for refugees coming to the United States.
Texas has large refugee populations in several of its cities and has long been a leader in settling refugees, taking in more than any other state during the 2018 governmental fiscal year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Since the 2002 fiscal year, Texas has resettled an estimated 88,300 refugees, second only to California, according to the Pew Research Center.
Abbott argued that the state and its non-profit organizations should instead focus on ‘those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless – indeed, all Texans.’
It wasn’t clear how Abbott’s letter might affect any pending refugee cases.
Refugee groups sharply criticized the Republican governor. Ali Al Sudani, chief programs officer of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, predicted that some refugees with longstanding plans to come to Texas would have flights rescheduled or delayed. Al Sudani settled in Houston from Iraq in 2009 and now works to resettle other refugees.
‘You can imagine the message that this decision will send to them and to their families,’ Al Sudani said. ‘It´s very disappointing and very sad news, and honestly, this is not the Texas that I know.’
Texas Democratic Party spokesman Abhi Rahman also criticized Abbott, saying refugees ‘are not political pawns and bargaining chips to advance anti-immigrant policies.’
President Donald Trump announced in September that resettlement agencies must get written consent from state and local officials in any jurisdiction where they want to help resettle refugees beyond June 2020. Trump has already slashed the number of refugees allowed into the country for the 2020 fiscal year to a historic low of 18,000. About 30,000 refugees were resettled in the U.S. during the previous fiscal year.