Texas Sues US, Relief Agency To Prevent Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees

Texas Sues US, Relief Agency To Prevent Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees
University of Texas Banners Derek Key / Flickr cc by 2.0

The U.S. State Department, a relief agency and others were sued by a Texas state agency Wednesday.


The lawsuit comes in an attempt to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is looking to resettle two Syrian refugee families in the state. State officials, however, have said that such a move could be reckless and threatened that it could lead to a cut in funding for the agency.

In the lawsuit, the state has claimed that IRC and the federal government have left the state “uninformed about refugees that could well pose a security risk to Texans.”

The Obama administration has maintained that states do not possess the authority to prevent refugees from the war-torn country. The screening process, which is thorough and takes up to two years, according to the Obama administration, to vet the refugees could take 18 to 24 months.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott stands against the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state. Since the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, there have been fears that militants planning terror attacks could enter the country under the guise of seeking refuge. As reported by ABC News, the U.S. State Department figures show that as many as 200 Syrian refugees have resettled in the country since the Paris attacks, including those states whose governors stand opposed to the resettlement.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “The point of this lawsuit is not about specific refugees, it is about protecting Texans by ensuring that the federal government fulfills its obligation to properly vet the refugees and cooperate and consult with the state.”

Refugee advocates say that governors do not have the authority to block refugees based on their nationality. It is also being argued that it is the victims, instead of the perpetrators, who are being targeted by the prevention of resettlement.

Reuters reports that Texas has resettled 180 Syrian refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.