The Texas Health and Human Services Commission put the Obama Administration on notice with regard to requirements that must be met before Syrian refugees are resettled in the Lone Star State. This includes the prerequisite that the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement certify that “each refugee does not pose a security threat” to people of Texas.
This is the second time the plan has been submitted to federal officials.
“Given your proclaimed confidence in your protocols, this appears to be a reasonable request,” Texas Health and Human Services Commission Executive Commissioner Charles Smith wrote in a letter to the President’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Robert Carey.
The letter obtained by Breitbart Texas (attached below) reveals that Obama Administration officials have provided a briefing to Texas officials on the security screening protocols. The briefing was conducted by members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Health and Human Services. The information provided by these federal officials was passed on to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for analysis.
“Following that briefing, and in consulting with the Texas Department of Public Safety,” Smith wrote, “we remain as concerned as ever for the safety of our citizens and the integrity of the overseas security and background vetting process of the federal resettlement program.”
Smith went on to say that Texas does not oppose the resettlement of all refugees, “but we believe we are justified in our objection to the unmitigated placement of refugees from Syria and countries known to be supporters or propagators of terrorism.”
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services submitted a 31-page “State Plan for the Refugee Program” which is attached below. The plan establishes a security screening requirement in order for the refugees to be approved to be housed in Texas.
In addition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) screening, Texas is requiring that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shall take all actions necessary to ensure that each potential refugee receives a background investigation and ensure that the potential refugee is not a security threat before U.S. refugee admission.
Specifically, a potential refugee may not be admitted as a refugee until the FBI certifies to DHS and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that he or she has received a background investigation sufficient to determine whether the potential refugee is a U.S. security threat; and may only be admitted to the United States after DHS, with the unanimous concurrence of the FBI and the DNI, certifies to Congress that he or she is not such a threat.
The plan also states that the Office of Refugee Resettlement will not place, or resettle in Texas, any refugees in excess of the State’s original allocation for fiscal year 2016.
The 31-page plan details the State’s responsibilities and support that will be provided if the security concerns are met by the federal government. That plan includes training and employment services, planning for refugee economic self-sufficiency, temporary cash assistance, language training, medical assistance, and other programs to help the accepted refugees get on their feet and not dependent on social security benefits that burden tax-payers.
It also provides for a medical screening process to ensure that the refugees are not at risk or do not pose a health risk to Texans.
In addition to the Syrian refugees, the plan also details issues relating to the flood of unaccompanied alien children who continue to pour across the border from Mexico.
Other Texas officials are also urging restrictions on Syrian refugees coming to the Lone Star State.
Breitbart Texas reported in June that U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the entire Texas Republican Congressional delegation in a letter criticizing the Obama Administration. The letter said in part, that the Administration has “manifestly failed to reassure and adequately engage State and local governments on these resettlements.” They insisted that the Obama Administration “work with the State of Texas to reform your Administration’s refugee resettlement policies and procedures immediately.”
Breitbart Texas has continued to write about the lack of vetting and the security risk posed by these refugees.
Last November, a Breitbart Texas article included a video excerpt from a House Homeland Security Committee hearing. The video revealed exactly why Texas Congressmen Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Ted Poe (R-TX) were calling for “a screeching halt” to Syrian resettlement in the country.
During the hearing on “Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges,” Rep. Smith asked FBI Director James B. Comey, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Nicholas J. Rasmussen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, about the security risk that Syrian refugees pose to Americans. The bottom line was that these high-ranking members of the federal administration said if a refugee has no security or criminal background issues, we essentially have to rely on a refugee’s word when they fill out their applications.
Texas Syrian refugees have been arriving in Texas despite the Governor’s orders.
Texas is leading the nation in terms of the numbers of refugees being resettled within its borders, Breitbart Texas reported in May. During the current fiscal year, nearly 3,000 refugees had been resettled in Texas.
When the Obama Administration attempted to force Texas to accept a 25 percent increase in the number of refugees to be resettled, Texas leaders responded by demanding the refugees be fully vetted. The concern over the vetting process grew when it was revealed that more than 100 Syrian refugees per day were flooding into the United States.
Smith’s second letter to the Obama Administration concludes by stating, “I am therefore resubmitting the Texas State Plan without changes to the security certification section. Additionally, our previously stated objection to any increase to the number of refugees placed in Texas remains, as does our request to cap the number of placements in Amarillo.”