Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is the first governor in the United States to halt refugee resettlement in his state, a move that comes as the state has been inundated over the last three decades with mass immigration.
For Fiscal Year 2020, President Donald Trump will continue cutting refugee admissions by reducing former President Barack Obama’s refugee inflow by at least 80 percent. This reduction would mean a maximum of 18,000 refugees can be resettled in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020. This is merely a numerical limit and not a goal federal officials are supposed to reach.
Coupled with the refugee reduction, Trump signed an executive order that gives localities, counties, and states veto power over whether they want to resettle refugees in their communities.
In a letter to the Trump administration, Abbott said Texas had taken more refugees than any other state in the U.S., noting that state taxpayers and officials have “been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues…”
Abbott wrote in his letter:
Texas is one of the most welcoming states for refugees seeking to escape dangers abroad. since FY2010, more refugees have been received in Texas than in any other state. In fact, over that decade, roughly 10% of all refugees resettled in the United States have been placed in Texas. Even today, the process of resettling continues for many of these refugees. [Emphasis added]
In addition to accepting refugees all these years, Texas has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system. In May 2019, for example, around 100,000 migrants were apprehended crossing this state’s southern border. In June 2019, individuals from 52 different countries were apprehended here. And in FY2018, the apprehensions included citizens from disparate countries like China, Iran, Kenya, Russia, and Tonga. Texas continues to have to deal with the consequences of an immigration system that Congress has failed to fix. [Emphasis added]
At this time, the state and non-profit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless — indeed, all Texans. As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020. 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. [Emphasis added]
Texas has carried more than its share in assisting the refugee resettlement process and appreciates that other states are available to help with these efforts. [Emphasis added]
Since 2005, more than 81,600 refugees have been resettled in the state of Texas — a level of refugees that outpaces the entire population of Portland, Maine. The majority of those refugees have been resettled in the state’s major cities like Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth.
Refugees resettled in Texas over the last 15 years have mostly arrived from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran. For example, nearly 15,000 refugees, alone, have arrived in Texas from Iraq. Another nearly 4,000 have arrived from Iran.
Despite previous opposition to the refugee resettlement program by Republicans, Abbott is the only Republican governor to halt the refugee flow to his state with 19 other Republican governors asking the Trump administration to continue resettling refugees in their communities.
The Republican governors who have asked for more refugee resettlement include:
- Mike DeWine of Ohio
- Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
- Kim Reynolds of Iowa
- Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
- Gary Herbert of Utah
- Doug Burgum of North Dakota
- Chris Sununu of New Hampshire
- Doug Ducey of Arizona
- Eric Holcomb of Indiana
- Bill Lee of Tennessee
- Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma
- Pete Ricketts of Nebraska
- Kristi Noem of South Dakota
- Jim Justice of West Virginia
- Mike Parson of Missouri
- Brad Little of Idaho
- Larry Hogan of Maryland
- Mike Dunleavy of Alaska
- Phil Scott of Vermont
An exclusive memo obtained by Breitbart News reveals how Republican governors like Gov. Hutchinson of Arkansas are defending their decision to admit refugees by claiming that the state will have more involvement in the process than ever.
Hutchinson has also suggested that refugees to Arkansas will likely be nationals who have cooperated with the U.S. military and are thus being persecuted for that reason. Those nationals, though, primarily arrived through the various Special Immigrant Visa categories and not through the refugee resettlement program.
Likewise, states are not allowed to choose the refugees they receive nor are state officials given background profiles of each refugee.
Refugee contractors have a vested interest in making sure as many refugees are resettled across the U.S. as possible because their annual federally funded budgets are contingent on the number of refugees they resettle. Those refugee contractors include:
Church World Service (CWS), Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and World Relief Corporation (WR).
Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.