“Texas shouldn’t have to go to court to require Washington to comply with federal law regarding its duties to consult with Texas in advance.”
Earlier this week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a complaint seeking to block resettlement of six Syrian refugees.
Sarah Rumpf reported:
The lawsuit names as defendants various federal entities such as the Department of State, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, as well as International Rescue Committee, Inc., a nonprofit organization involved in refugee resettlement.
According to the the complaint, the Refugee Act of 1980 (8 U.S.C. § 1522) “establishes a framework for collaboration and cooperation” between the federal government, state and local governments, and volunteer nonprofit organizations, and also requires that the federal government and these private groups “shall consult regularly” and work “in close cooperation and advance consultation” with the states about “the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.”
The Texas HHSC was told during a phone call with International Rescue Committee that the group intended to resettle two families of Syrian refugees — a total of six people — in Dallas, Texas this week, possibly as early as Thursday, December 3.
However, as the complaint alleges, neither this nonprofit group nor the federal government have met their obligations under the Refugee Act of 1980 to consult with Texas about these refugees. Therefore, Texas is demanding that the court order the federal government and International Rescue Committee to comply with the law by consulting with Texas and providing the requested information, and to block the resettlement of these Syrian refugees until that occurs.
Friday, Paxton withdrew the complaint:
as a result of Texas’s lawsuit, the federal government provided additional requested information regarding the first group of refugees set to arrive in Texas. Accordingly, the state has withdrawn a request for a Temporary Restraining Order, but continues to seek an injunction requiring the federal government to comply with its statutory duty to consult with Texas in advance of resettling refugees.
“Texas shouldn’t have to go to court to require Washington to comply with federal law regarding its duties to consult with Texas in advance,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Our state will continue legal proceedings to ensure we get the information necessary to adequately protect the safety of Texas residents. While we remain concerned about the federal government’s overall refugee vetting process, we must ensure that Texas has the seat at the table that the Refugee Act requires.”
On Thursday, Texas filed suit on behalf of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) against the federal government, citing the Refugee Act of 1980. The federal government had been directing the nonprofit entity tasked with placing the refugees in Texas from disclosing even basic information that would help resolve Texas’s security concerns.
Texas takes in roughly 10 percent of the refugees resettled in the United States, partnering with local volunteer agencies to help refugees transition to the State and pay associated costs.
Texas will continue to seek an injunction that requires the federal government to consult with Texas prior to assigned refugee resettlement.
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