Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he would no longer be accepting any new refugees in 2020 following the executive order that President Donald Trump signed, which allowed states to opt-out of resettlements, according to multiple reports.
In September 2019, Trump signed an executive order which stated that for refugees to be resettled in a particular state or city, the federal government requires the consent of that specific state or local government.
“The Federal Government, as an exercise of its broad discretion concerning refugee placement accorded to it by the Constitution and the Immigration and Nationality Act, should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program (Program),” the executive order stated.
As indicated by the executive order, within 90 days of this executive order, the secretary of state, secretary of health, and the human services will determine who has given consent to the federal government for the resettling of refugees, before refugees are allowed to be resettled in that particular state. However, should a state not give consent to the resettling of refugees, then the federal government cannot override their decision.
“[I]f 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 unless the Secretary of State concludes, following consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security, that failing to resettle refugees within that State or locality would be inconsistent with the policies and strategies established under 8 U.S.C. 1522(a)(2)(B) and (C) or other applicable law,” the executive order stated.
Within Trump’s new executive order, Abbott decided not to give consent to the executive order—the first one to do so, according to The Hill.
Also, in a letter written to Michael R. Pompeo, the secretary of state, stating that he would not be consenting to the resettlement of refugees as indicated by the executive order. In the letter, Abbott said his reason was: the state and all the non-profit organizations currently need to direct their resources to those who are now living in Texas, whether it be refugees, migrants, the homeless, or its citizens.
As per the letter indicated, Texas had been, in the past, very welcoming towards refugees. In fact, “more refugees have been received in Texas than in any other state. Over the decade, roughly 10 percent of all refugees resettled in the United States have been placed in Texas,” Abbott stressed that even currently, “the process of resettling continues for many of these refugees.”
However, the many issues resulting from disproportionate migration, which was a result of a “broken federal immigration system,” have left Texas dealing with the consequences. Texas continues, still, to deal with these problems, the letter stated.
“As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for [the fiscal year 2020]. 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,” Abbott stated.