Since announcing that Texas would no longer participate in any Syrian refugee relocation programs Monday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott spoke to reporters about his decision following an engagement on higher education in North Texas later in the day.
Unequivocally, Abbott stated that allowing Syrian refugees into the United States is “playing the same game of risk that Europe played” referring to the “individual who entered Europe and then participated in the terroristic bombing of Paris.” He told reporters he is not willing to “roll the dice” and take that risk on Texans.
He emphasized, “The first and foremost responsibility of a government is to keep its people safe.”
The Texas governor reaffirmed his call for the President to halt all plans to accept any Syrian refugees in the U.S., calling Syria a terrorism nexus where “ISIS is establishing as a homeland base for the purpose of generating and proliferating terrorist attacks.”
The Governor cited among his reasons for the decision FBI director James Comey, who admitted to the House Committee on Homeland Security last month, there is no way to properly screen all those Syrian refugees who want to enter the United States.
“It’s a fact that people from Syria have crossed the Texas border in order to get into our state,” said Abbott. “It’s also a fact the FBI director himself said…that neither he nor, to his knowledge, the federal government have the tools or the technology to do an adequate background check on all the Syrian refugees who are coming into the country to determine whether they will or will not be involved in any kind of a terroristic activity. The reason for that is because the database on the Syrian side simply does not exist.”
Abbott pointed out Texas has had brushes with ISIS. “During my tenure as attorney general, I worked on a joint operation with federal authorities to arrest two homegrown ISIS individuals who were working in preparation to aid ISIS.”
He recalled the attempted ISIS terrorist attack in the Dallas area last May. “We all know that not too far from here in Garland, Texas, two members who claimed to be associated with ISIS tried to harm people.”
Breitbart Texas was on scene with three reporters when two ISIS gunmen opened fire outside Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center during the Mohammad Art Exhibit and Contest. Pamela Geller organized the event. Dutch politician and free speech advocate Geert Wilders was guest of honor. ISIS claimed credit for shootings which ended with the ISIS dubbed “soldiers of the caliphate” taken down by Garland police.
“There have been other instances here in the state of Texas where challenges have arisen,” the Governor intimated.
Since March, seven Texas cities are listed on an ISIS “Kill List” — Abilene, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Wyle, Fort Hood, Bedford, and Killeen. The state is one of 23 in an ISIS report that contains names, photos, and home addresses of U.S. Armed Forces personnel targeting cities across the country.
Abbott stood firm with his decision to sever the Syrian refugee relocation through the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program. He did not explain how the state plans to keep Texans safe and only said, “we are in the process of undertaking measures” which included that Syrian refugees would not be allowed into the state of Texas and/or given refuge, even through 501(c)3 based organizations. That includes organizations like Catholic Charities which often assist with refugee programs. Last year, they helped South and Central American illegal immigrants, who flooded into the U.S. through Texas, providing benefits, financial support, English classes, and even relocation into other states.
“Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugee resettlement in the Lone Star state,” said Abbott. At last count, 22 GOP governors rejected Obama’s Syrian refugee program.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.