Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been fighting to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States ever since the terror attacks in Paris, so it should not come as a surprise that the state has finally taken the matter to the federal court.
The Lone Star State is suing the United States’ government and the International Rescue Committee for trying to resettle two refugee families — a grand total of six members — in the city of Dallas.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which also took legal action against John Kerry “in his official capacity as secretary of state" and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
State officials asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the Syrian refugees from entering because of “reasonable concerns about the safety and security of the citizenry of the State of Texas.”
One of the two Syrian families is expected to arrive in Texas as soon as Friday.
“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,” stated Attorney General Ken Paxton.
He claimed the government and the IRC, which is one of about 20 private nonprofits that have a state contract to resettle refugees in Texas, are violating federal law by moving forward with the planned resettlement.
Meanwhile, the IRC declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said in a statement that it has a long history of serving refugees in Texas.
“Refugees are victims of terror, not terrorists, and the families we help have always been welcomed by the people of Texas,” the statement read. “The IRC acts within the spirit and letter of the law, and we are hopeful that this matter resolved soon.”
Since the federal government completely funds the refugee resettlement in the U.S., the Obama administration has said states do not have the authority to block refugees. They are, however, in charge of contracting with local nonprofit organizations and distributing federal dollars among them.
As The Texas Tribune reports, at least 242 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Texas since 2012. But the count is expected to increase as the U.S. prepares to take in as many as 10,000 refugees next year.
Recommended: Turns Out, Syrians Don’t Even Want To Come To The U.S.