Texas threatens to pull out of federal refugee program
The governor of Texas on Wednesday sent official notice to the Obama administration that the state is prepared to withdraw from a federal refugee resettlement program by the end of the month.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in a letter that Texas will withdraw from the program by Sept. 30 unless the state's plan for handling refugees is approved "unconditionally." The withdrawal would take effect on Jan. 31.Under Texas's plan, national security officials would have to certify that refugees pose no security threat before they are allowed into the United States.
“Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people," Abbott wrote.
“Empathy must be balanced with security," Abbott added. "Texas has done more than its fair share in aiding refugees, accepting more refugees than any other state between October 2015 and March 2016. While many refugees pose no danger, some pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested earlier this year after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston."
The letter comes after the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's office released a report showing that 858 individuals from countries "of concern to the national security" were mistakenly granted U.S. citizenship instead of being deported.
CNN later reported the number was more than 1,800.
The Obama administration announced last week that the U.S. would resettle 110,000 refugees from around the world, a 30 percent increase from this year. The U.S took in 10,000 refugees from Syria alone this year.
President Obama earlier this week stressed that people seeking refuge in the U.S. “are subject to more vigorous screening than the average tourist.”
“I believe refugees can make us stronger,” he said.