42.5 F
Fort Worth
Friday, December 4, 2020
Government Trump's latest executive order blocks settlement of thousands of refugees to Texas

Trump’s latest executive order blocks settlement of thousands of refugees to Texas

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

January 27, 2017

President Donald Trump accomplished with one signature what Texas leaders spent a year fighting over. 

Trump signed an executive order on Friday to indefinitely ban the entry of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and halt all refugee admissions for 120 days to allow for a review of screening procedures — a move that could keep thousands of refugees from being resettled in Texas. 

“It is really heartbreaking, and we have a sense of disappointment and frustration,” said Ali Al Sudani, director of refugee services for the Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston. “It’s a life-saving program.” 

Al Sudani’s organization — one of about 20 nonprofits that resettle refugees in Texas — is already hearing from refugees placed in Texas who are worried about their relatives or friends who were in the process of receiving refugee status and concerned about “what’s going to be next.” 

More than 600 refugees fleeing violence and persecution have been resettled in Texas since Jan. 1., and refugee resettlement agencies were expecting to help thousands more start new lives in the state this year. About 10 percent of refugees admitted into the country each year are typically resettled in Texas, but the Trump administration is also reducing the total number of refugees that will be resettled in the country in the 2017 federal fiscal year to no more than 50,000. 

Almost 9,000 refugees from 42 countries were resettled in Texas last year, with more than 1,000 refugees originally hailing from Syria. 

For more than a year, the entry of Syrian refugees to the United States had come under intense scrutiny amid security concerns. In Friday’s executive order, Trump proclaimed that the entry of Syrian refugees “is detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Trump’s executive order also bans the entry of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — for 90 days and will also put the entire program on hold for four months to give national security officials time to review its refugee admission procedures. 

Refugee resettlement efforts are completely funded by the federal government. Refugees are settled in the United States after lengthy, stringent security screenings that can take up to two years. Security officials with the state department conduct background and biometric screenings, and they process applications received through the United Nations, which operates refugee camps around the world. 

Refugees cleared by the state department are assigned to one of nine national refugee resettlement organizations that place individuals in communities across the country where local case managers help them resettle by helping them find jobs, learn English and enroll their children in school. 

In Texas — a hub for refugee resettlement — refugees are quickly integrated into communities across the state. Among those resettled by Refugee Services of Texas, 85 percent were self-reliant, tax-paying community members within six months, said Aaron Rippenkroeger, the organization’s president and CEO. 

“By definition, refugees are people who face a threat to their safety in their former homes — they are distinctly non-violent,” Rippenkroeger said in a statement on Friday. “They personally know the horrors of violence, and like all Americans, they first want to be safe and secure. Being tough on terrorism does not require being tough on refugees.”  

Refugee resettlement agencies have long argued that refugees undergo the most comprehensive security screenings among foreigners admitted to the country. And they’ve warned against stereotyping those fleeing countries where the majority of residents are Muslim or countries that are home to terrorist organizations, particularly places like Iraq, which refugees often flee after being targeted for helping American troops and companies. 

“We cannot make a blanket statement,” Al Sudani said. “These refugees are fleeing the persecution that is exercised by these terrorist organizations.” 

Trump’s move to temporarily suspend refugee resettlement comes on the heels of an almost year-long legal battle between Texas’ Republican leadership and the federal government over Syrian refugees. 

Following terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott first sought to keep Syrian refugees out of the state in November 2015, but he was repeatedly warned by the Obama administration that the state didn’t have that authority. When local nonprofits refused to follow Abbott’s orders to stop resettling Syrian refugees, the state took its fight to court suing the federal government and a refugee resettlement nonprofit. 

This prompted an unsuccessful legal battle in which a federal judge repeatedly denied Texas’ efforts to keep Syrian refugees out and eventually dismissed the state’s lawsuit. 

Texas eventually decided in late September to withdraw from the program altogether. Citing security concerns, Abbott’s office said Texas would no longer participate in the federal refugee resettlement program because the federal government did not “unconditionally approve” its amended state plan to only accept refugees who “are fully vetted and do not present a security threat.” 

This did not stop the federal government and local nonprofits from continuing to help refugees relocate here with four regional designees taking Texas’ place in administering refugee resettlement efforts. 

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday regarding Trump’s executive order. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/27/trumps-order-could-keep-thousands-refugees-being-r/.


Oh hi there 👋 It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

Granger reelected as lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, has been reelected by members of the House Republican Steering Committee to serve as Lead Republican of the...

Optimism growing for COVID relief bill as pressure builds

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Optimism about delivering long-sought COVID-19 relief is building on Capitol Hill after additional rank-and-file lawmakers voiced support...

US adds Chinese chipmaker, oil giant to security blacklist

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. government has stepped up a feud with Beijing over security by adding China’s biggest processor chip maker and a...

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House on Friday approved a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, reversing what supporters called...

US imposes visas restrictions on more Chinese citizens

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Friday that the U.S. will impose visa restrictions on Chinese citizens engaged in overseas influence operations. Secretary of...