A U.S. representative from Texas introduced a bill on Tuesday in the nation’s capital to protect state governors who refuse President Barack Obama’s plans to resettle Syrian refugees in their respective states.
At least thirty-one governors have made statements refusing these refugees because of security concerns.
“In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks over half of State governors including Governor Abbott of Texas have told the Administration that they will not accept Syrian refugees,” Representative Ted Poe explained in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “One of the Paris attackers was disguised as a Syrian refugee, so governors are concerned about bringing thousands of Syrians into their states.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Poe said he is not aware of any litigation that has ever been brought on the laws related to refugee settlement. “Let’s resolve this now with legislation, instead of having to wait for years to battle it out in court,” he explained. “This is an issue the states’ governors should be able to decide.”
Rep. Poe introduced H.R. 4032, “The States’ Right of Refugee Refusal Act,” on Tuesday after more than half of the states’ governors announced their opposition to Syrian refugee resettlement in their states following the Paris terrorist attacks. The bill has already received fourteen cosponsors.
On Monday, Breitbart Texas reported that Governor Abbott ordered the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to “not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas.”
“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas,” Abbott said on Monday.
Poe said, “Current federal law does not clearly give governors the absolute right to refuse. This matter will end up being fought in long court battles if Congress does not act to clarify the law. ISIS has threatened to attack our homeland. We should believe them.”
Referring to a September hearing of the House Homeland Security committee where top Obama Administration officials spoke, Poe said, “[t]he Director of the FBI even stated that he does not believe we have enough resources to screen the refugees. We should allow state governors to take action to protect their citizens.”
Breitbart Texas’ Lana Shadwick reported on Tuesday evening about a video from that hearing released by Rep. Lamar Smith. The San Antonio congressman released a three minute YouTube video from the above mentioned hearing where Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas J. Rasmussen appeared dumbfounded during questioning and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson completely dodged a question about large numbers of the refugees being young able-bodied males.
Rep. Smith told Breitbart Texas, “The president’s insistence that we move forward with his refugee plans is irresponsible, tone-deaf to the reality of security threats and out-of-touch with the American people.”
Smith concluded, “At a time when we are on high alert, all plans for relocating Syrian refugees should come to a screeching halt. We should not allow Syrian refugees into our country until this administration can guarantee that they pose no danger to the American people.”
Rep. Poe’s bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee where he serves as a member. Poe said current law only permits consultation with the states but does not give governors specific authority to refuse. “Right now, the federal government can just advise the governors of their intentions and say they have ‘consulted,'” Poe told this writer. “This is a states’ rights bill.”
Poe indicated he thinks the bill has a good chance to pass if House leadership agrees to let it come up for a vote.leadership to agree to let it come up for a vote.
This bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make certain that states have a right to refuse to participate in refugee resettlement if the governor opts out of the program. A copy of the text of the bill, obtained by Breitbart Texas, is attached below.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.