Unless the federal government accedes to demands already made by the states of Kansas and New Jersey, Texas will stop helping the federal government programs that provide aid and services to refugees. State officials made the announcement this evening. In recent days, President Barack Obama announced his intention to dramatically increase the number of refugees next year.
Due to what Republicans have called security concerns, Kansas and New Jersey pulled out of the federally funded refugee resettlement program. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the Lone State will do the same unless the federal government “unconditionally” meets demands for rigorous refugee vetting by September 30.
The federal government has long claimed that refugees are exhaustively screened and have won several court battles over states' efforts to block the arrival of Syrian refugees in the wake of November's deadly attacks in Paris.
Vice presidential candidate and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, along with other Republicans, have expressed concern, for example, over a Syrian passport that is said to have been found near the body of one of the suicide bombers who wreaked devastation in Paris last year. In a statement today, Abbott said, "Empathy must be balanced with security."
All the same, the federal Department of Health and Human Services stated today that refugee services will continue to be granted in Texas. Elsewhere, the Obama administration works directly with local resettlement agencies, such as Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services, in lieu of giving the federal funds for refugee services and benefits through state agencies.
The International Rescue Committee -- one of the largest settlement agencies in the US -- released that Texas' decision "cannot obstruct our moral obligation to protect and welcome the world's most vulnerable."
The White House has said the U.S. would resettle 110,000, a 30 percent increase over the 85,000 allowed this year.
This week, Obama told the United Nations the US and other countries have pledged to take in 360,000 refugees in 2017. Calling it a "crisis of epic proportions," he said, "History will judge us harshly if we do not rise to this moment." He has decided to bring in 110,000 Syrian refugees. So far, a tiny minority of Syrian refugees admitted to the US are Christian, despite the fact that they are the minority most affected by Muslim terrorism in the Middle East.
However, 30 states vowed to block Syrian refugees following the Paris attacks. Texas was the first to sue the federal government to block resettlements but a judge threw out the lawsuit in June after twice rejecting Texas’ claim that refugees presented an imminent risk. The state has appealed.
Indiana is also continuing to fight in court over efforts to uphold Pence's order to bar agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in his state. A federal judge has ruled the order "clearly discriminates" against refugees, which the state is appealing to a high court in Chicago.nsas and New Jersey also have pulled out of the federally funded refugee resettlement program due to what Republicans have called security concerns. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state will follow suit unless demands for more rigorous refugee vetting are “unconditionally” met by Sept. 30.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for a limit to persons coming from countries afflicted by Islamist violence, Democrat Hillary Clinton said in 2015 that she would admit 65,000 Syrian refugees .
Federal officials did not immediately comment on Texas’ intentions.
The Obama administration wants to permanently resettle 110,000 refugees in fiscal 2017, which begins on October 1. Half of them would come from Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and other countries where Muslim terrorism and extremism are rife. The number represents an increase of 29 percent over the figure of 85,000 for the 2016 fiscal year.
But the numbers could be much higher.
In consultation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Obama administration has explored "alternative pathways" to admit refugees into the country without labelling them as refugees. These immigrants would be admitted on health visas, student visas, for family reunification, and other methods.
Some cities are expecting to receive refugees, even despite their own troubles. Michigan, which already has one of the biggest Muslim communities in the country, has become the No. 2 spot for resettling Syrian refugees. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, 1,404 Syrian refugees have moved into Michigan, according to the U.S. State Department. Other sources contend that as many as 4,000 Syrians have been resettled in Michigan, while 1,000 have been sent to Oakland County, just outside Detroit.
According to Breitbart News, Flint, Michigan, is to receive as many as 100 refugees in fiscal year 2017. Flint has one of the highest crime rates in the country, high unemployment, crumbling schools and infrastructure, mountainous public debt, and an ongoing crisis caused by the negligent contamination of the city's drinking water by its water treatment system. Genesee County Commissioner Jamie Curtis said this week that has not received any information regarding any refugees coming to Flint, even though by law he should be informed. The White House is looking into it.
Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson of Michigan said today in a WJR radio interview in Detroit that he intends to file an injunction to ban the resettlement of all refugees in his Michigan county. He told the interviewer Frank Beckmann, “I’ve brought in my legal team from the county, and we’re about to sue them [the federal government] to get an injunction to stop them from relocating more people into this community until the rules are adhered to.” He added, “The federal law could not be more specific.”
Patterson continued, “It wasn’t you [the federal government] may want to inform local county officials” about resettling refugees in Oakland County. “It says you shall inform the local county officials.” (emphasis added) “One of my concerns is they’re not vetting them [the refugees],” Patterson noted.
“Everybody from Comey at the FBI, from the National Security Administration. . . say that … we’re going to slide in, slip, in some terrorists among the poor people who are fleeing the battle and the oppression,” he continued. Patterson said that his county is the leader in Michigan for receiving refugees, and Michigan leads the nation.