Texas Sues Refugee Resettlement Group for Doing Its Job

Texas is suing an aid group trying to help resettle Syrian refugees.
Texas is suing an aid group trying to help resettle Syrian refugees.

A few days after it threatened to sue a Dallas-based aid group for helping Syrian refugees resettle in Texas, the state has followed through and filed a lawsuit against the group and the federal government in an attempt to keep Syrian refugees out, the Houston Chronicle first reported late Wednesday afternoon. 

According to the Chron, a family of six Syrian refugees are in Jordan set to board a Dallas-bound plane scheduled for a Friday arrival and are being aided by the U.S. State Department and the Dallas branch of the International Rescue Committee, prompting the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to file a federal lawsuit in an attempt to bring a temporary restraining order against the federal government's resettlement activities in Texas and the non-profit Rescue Committee, citing "a substantial threat that irreparable injury will result" from the resettlement of the Syrian man, his parents, his wife, and the couple's two young children. 

"On or about Thursday, December 3 or Friday, December 4, a group of Syrian refugees are scheduled to arrive in Texas," the lawsuit says. "Plans for the settlement of additional refugees may be underway. Plaintiff possesses reasonable concerns about the safety and security of the citizenry of the State of Texas regarding these refugees that may seek resettlement within the State of Texas."

In short, the lawsuit says the state of Texas is afraid of some Syrian kids and their parents and grandparents. 

Really, it does. You can read it yourself here:

The Syrian man's brother is reportedly already in Texas after he fled the Middle East in 2013. According to Time Magazine, he works at a Wal-Mart in Dallas. In a press release, Attorney General Ken Paxton framed the resettlement issue (as has Governor Greg Abbott) not as being about "specific refugees," but about "protecting Texans by ensuring that the federal government fulfills its obligation to properly vet the refugees and cooperate and consult with the state." 

President Barack Obama's administration has said that the refugee vetting process is very rigorous and effective, and Obama has not backed down from his announcement in September that the U.S. would settle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the upcoming year, despite 31 states saying that they will deny Syrian refugees following the terror attacks in Paris last month. None of the identified attackers in Paris were Syrian citizens, although one was found with a fake Syrian passport (there is no evidence that he entered Europe in a group of Syrian refugees). There has not been a foreign terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. 

Although more than half of U.S. states have vowed to keep out Syrian refugees, it is widely accepted that individual states do not actually have the legal authority or enforcement power to prevent federal agencies and aid groups from resettling refugees in their states. Texas is the first state to take legal action against the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

It is unclear what, if anything, will happen if the Syrian family arrives in Dallas later this week as planned. 

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