DALLAS, A Texas lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, says federal law is being violated in the resettlement in the state of two Syrian refugee families.
State Attorney General Ken Paxton’s suit says neither the U.S. State Department nor the non-governmental, nonprofit International Rescue Committee have met the requirements, of the Refugee Act of 1980 that they consult with state officials prior to a resettlement.
One refugee family is expected to arrive in Texas within days.
“The point of this lawsuit is not about specific refugees, it is about protecting Texans by ensuring that the federal government fulfills its obligation to properly vet the refugees and cooperate and consult with the state,” Paxton said in a statement.
The suit, filed in the federal court in Dallas, contends “the federal government and the Committee have left Texas uninformed about refugees that could well pose a security risk to Texans and without any say in the process of resettling these refugees.” It also notes Texas has historically taken in more refugees than any other state, but asks for a stay on resettling any Syrian refugees in Texas.
A statement from the International Rescue Committee did not comment on the lawsuit but said the group has “worked in coordination with Texas officials for 40 years. Refugees are victims of terror, not terrorists, and the families we help have always been welcomed by the people of Texas. The IRC acts within the spirit and letter of the law, and we are hopeful that this matter is resolved soon.”
Resettlement of refugees in the United States is a federal matter, but states contract with local agencies in dispersing federal funding to help resettlement. Individual states cannot reject refugees but can complicate or stall the process.
By Ed Adamczyk