Texas Must Accept Syrian Refugees, Federal Court Rules

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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U.S. District Court Judge David Godbey ruled on Thursday that the state of Texas does not have the authority to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees within the state.

In December, the state of Texas filed suit against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, an international relief agency, to block the resettlement of several hundred Syrian refugees claiming that the Refugee Act of 1980 requires the federal government to consult with state authorities before making final determinations as to resettlement. Twenty-nine other states have sought to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their jurisdiction. (RELATED: 13 Syrians Refugees We’d Take Immediately [Photos])

The district court declined to rule on the merit of Texas’ claim, instead finding that Congress had not conferred a mechanism for the states to challenge federal actions under the Act.

Godbey previously criticized security concerns raised by the Texas AG, who argued the state had a compelling interest in protecting its citizens against extremism, calling the claims “largely speculative hearsay.”

Approximately 230 refugees from Syria have been settled in Texas since December. President Obama plans to resettle as many as 10,000 in the United States in the near future.

“I am disappointed with the court’s determination that Texas cannot hold the federal government accountable to consult with us before resettling refugees here,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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