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Texas becomes first state to refuse refugees

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 11, 2020 - Duration: 01:40s

Texas becomes first state to refuse refugees

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday became the first governor in the United States to refuse to accept refugees under an executive order requiring local jurisdictions to actively opt in to the federal resettlement program.

Freddie Joyner has more.

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Texas becomes first state to refuse refugees

Texas became the first state in the country to refuse to accept refugees on Friday.

This comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order last year allowing state and local governments to not participate in the federal refugee resettlement program.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said his state quote “cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement” this year, adding that Texas had a quote “responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and the homeless." The decision is a major blow to the U.S. refugee program since Texas is the largest recipient of refugees in the country.

Other states such as Florida and Georgia - also major recipients of refugees - have so far remained silent on the matter.

Cutting immigration has been a centerpiece of Trump's presidency and 2020 re-election campaign.

One of his first acts as president in 2017 was to cap the maximum number of refugees and has slashed that number every year since.

Trump set a ceiling of 18,000 refugee admissions for 2020, the lowest level since the modern refugee program began in 1980.

By contrast, former President Barack Obama proposed resettling 110,000 refugees in 2017.

Refugee resettlement groups have argued that giving local governors and mayors a veto over whom they accept is unconstitutional.

Three of the nine national resettlement agencies have sued the Trump administration in federal court in an effort to block his order from being implemented.

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