According to a letter sent today to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was just obtained by The Daily Wire, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced Texas’s refusal to accept any additional refugees for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The letter was prompted by Executive Order 13888, on “Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement,” which was issued by President Donald Trump on September 26, 2019.
According to the text of the September executive order, “[t]he Federal Government consults with State and local governments … to be respectful of those communities that may not be able to accommodate refugee resettlement.” Furthermore, “if either a State or locality has not provided consent to receive refugees under the Program, then refugees should not be resettled within that State or locality,” and “the Secretary shall notify the President of such decision.”
Today, Greg Abbott, governor of the nation’s most iconic red state, has made clear that Texas does not consent.
“Texas is one of the most welcoming states for refugees seeking to escape dangers abroad,” Abbott begins. “Since FY 2010, 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. Even today, the process of resettling continues for many of these refugees.”
“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 governor continues. “In May 2019, for example, around 100,000 migrants were apprehended crossing this state’s southern border. In June 2019, individuals from 52 different countries were apprehended here. And in FY 2018, the apprehensions included citizens from disparate countries like China, Iran, Kenya, Russia, and Tonga. Texas continues to have to deal with the consequences of an immigration system that Congress has failed to fix.”
“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,” the Republican writes in his denouement. “As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020. This decision does not deny any refugee access to the United States. Nor does it preclude a refugee from later coming to Texas after initially settling in another state.”
“Texas has carried more than its share in assisting the refugee resettlement process and appreciates that other states are available to help with these efforts,” Abbott concludes.
Abbott’s bold stand will please immigration hawks, who have long sounded the alarm on America’s shoddy, loophole-ridden refugee system and our wholly inadequate vetting capabilities for prospective refugees. As the Center for Immigration Studies’ investigative journalist extraordinaire Todd Bensman wrote last April: “Few outside of intelligence and law enforcement circles — and perhaps not even those inside the circles — really know the actual extent of vetting failures that grant legal status to those hiding terrorism involvement. One tally found an entirely unacceptable 13 cases of vetting failures involving actual terrorists caught or killed between 9/11 and April 2018. But the numbers are undoubtedly higher, accounting for cases where the liars just haven’t been made public yet or there was strong terrorism intelligence rather than some sort of conviction under terrorism statutes or attack.”
Abbott’s move also follows closely on the heels of at least 15 separate Republican governors who have all affirmatively signed onto more refugee resettlement in their states in the aftermath of Executive Order 13888. Immigration hawk Daniel Horowitz recently excoriated these governors at Conservative Review: “Except for New England, these are all states carried by Trump, some of them by a very wide margin. Trump won every single county in West Virginia and Oklahoma, for example. Why are conservatives with platforms not talking about this? … Who needs George Soros when you have GOP governors endorsed by Trump doing his bidding, along with the help of so-called evangelical groups?”
Governor Abbott will take no shortage of heat for this move, even within the still-reliably Republican Lone Star State. But he should rest well at night, for he has done the right thing for his state.