Governor Greg Abbott has officially pulled the plug on Texas’ participation in the federal refugee resettlement program after the Obama Administration rejected specific security conditions.
The move by the Texas governor stops the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) from coordinating the resettlement of these refugees that the Obama Administration has repeatedly said they cannot certify not to be a threat to the residents of the state. His action follows the rejection of a proposal announced previously where Texas officials demanded a certification that the refugees were not a security threat and a limit on the number of refugees to the original 2016 plan.
“Texas has repeatedly requested that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence provide assurances that refugees resettled in Texas will not pose a security threat, and that the number of refugees resettled in Texas would not exceed the State’s original allocation in fiscal year 2016 – both of which have been denied by the federal government,” Abbott said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “As a result, Texas will withdraw from the refugee resettlement program. As governor, I will continue to prioritize the safety of all Texans and urge the federal government to overhaul this severely broken system.”
THHSC Spokesman Bryan Bryan Black told Breitbart Texas on Friday afternoon, “Since we have not received federal approval of our plan, we are moving forward with our transition out of the Refugee Resettlement Program. After today, the current plan will no longer be in effect, and we will begin exiting the program, with benefits and services ending on Jan. 31, 2017.”
THHSC sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement detailing the State’s concerns, Breitbart Texas reported on September 21. That letter states:
In follow up to our request for approval of our application for an amended State Plan, I write to express the state of Texas’ intentions should you not unconditionally approve our application by September 30, 2016.
The 2016 State Plan will no longer be current and continue in effect after September 30, 2016. That date is quickly approaching, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement has not yet approved our application for an amended State Plan. If you do not approve our State Plan as amended by September 30, 2016, we will interpret your silence as a rejection of the application. If our application is rejected -whether explicitly or by silence – the Health and Human Services Commission will be unable to certify that its State Plan is current and in effect, and will exit the Refugee Resettlement Program. We will notify contractors and impacted stakeholders that services and benefits will be provided for 120 days beyond October 1, 2016, or until January’ 31, 2017.
These requests were rejected by the federal government, the governor’s office stated.
Governor Abbott previously said the federal refugee resettlement plan is riddled with serious problems that create threats to the country. Breitbart Texas previously reported on testimony before Congress from some of the President’s top security advisors. The officials stated they believe that terrorists would attempt to infiltrate the refugee resettlement program.
“We have certainly seen terrorist groups talk about, think about, exactly what you are describing, Mr. Smith,” Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas J. Rasmussen told Rep. Lamar Smith. “Trying to use available programs to get people not only into the United States, but into western European countries as well. So we know that they aspire to do that.” This testimony was made prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris where at least one Syrian refugee was involved, according to an article by Breitbart London.
Earlier this month, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul reiterated that there is currently no way to properly vet Syrian refugees. His comments came in Houston during a meeting of the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
“If there is no data to check, there is no data to check,” McCaul said at the Thursday lunch meeting of local Republican activists. The chairman said he arrived at this conclusion after talking with some of the top security officials in the country.
Texas is leading the United States in refugee resettlement, Breitbart Texas reported earlier this year. Nearly 3,000 refugees have been settled in Texas during this fiscal year.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information