Story at a glance

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says his state will no longer accept new refugees for resettlement.
  • The announcement is covered under an executive order signed by President Trump in November requiring resettlement agencies to obtain written consent from relevant state and local officials anywhere they hope to resettle refugees beyond June 2020.
  • Forty-two other states have said they will continue to accept and resettle new refugees.

Texas will not allow new refugees to be resettled within its borders, said Gov. Greg Abbott in a letter released Friday. The state is the first to do so under an executive order from the Trump administration, the Associated Press reports

Abbott wrote that Texas “has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system.” He added that Texas has done "more than its share.”

The Republican governor’s newfound ability to turn away refugees comes from a November executive order from President Trump. The order requires resettlement agencies to obtain written consent from relevant state and local officials anywhere they hope to resettle refugees beyond June 2020. 

The Republican governor has sought to refuse refugee resettlement before. In 2015, he said Texas would turn away Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks that November. But the Obama administration continued to send refugees to Texas and other Republican-led states who voiced similar opposition.

Despite Abbott’s efforts, Texas took in more refugees than any other state in 2018 and several of its major cities have large refugee populations as a result. 

Governors in 42 other states said they will continue to allow more refugees into their states.

Texas Democratic Party spokesman Abhi Rahman criticized Abbott, saying refugees “are not political pawns and bargaining chips to advance anti-immigrant policies.”

Published on Jan 10, 2020