The Obama administration admitted in federal district court late last week that it did not give advance notice to Texas about settling a family of seven Syrian refugees in the state, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The failure to inform Texas authorities of the resettlement plans in advance, Paxton said, is a violation of the court’s directive.
The attorney general’s office on Tuesday filed a response with the court supporting its request for an injunction.
Texas originally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 2 against the federal government to stop the resettlement of refugees from Syria in the state, though states generally have little power in changing federal immigration policy. The state argued the federal government did not consult with state officials in advance of the resettlements — a violation of the Refugee Act of 1980.
A federal district judge ruled five days later that the federal government must notify the state at least seven days in advance of its plan to relocate refugees to the state. Federal authorities instead notified Texas on Jan. 22, the same day it resettled a married couple and their five children, aged 2 to 12.
“The Obama Administration continues settling Syrian refugees in our neighborhoods and communities under a cloak of secrecy,” said Paxton. “Last weekend the federal government settled refugees with no advance notice, in complete violation of a court’s directive, and were scheduled to bring more refugees to Texas without providing adequate information about who they are. The threat to our communities by foreign terrorists is real. The greater concern is not what we know about these refugees; it’s what we do not know.”
“In this case, authorities have left Texas uninformed about refugees that could well pose a security risk to Texans and gives them no say in the process,” Paxton’s office said, noting FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress about the federal government’s inability to appropriately conduct security checks on all Syrian nationals.
“We can query our database until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of them,” Comey said.