There may be more – or less – here than meets the eye.
On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state would be withdrawing from cooperation with the U.S. refugee resettlement program on 31 January 2017.
The governor’s announcement cited security concerns, which include an Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who plotted to detonate explosives in a mall on Houston. He was arrested earlier this year in mid-plot.
But Texas has been working on this problem for a while, and so far without success. The state actually made a similar announcement in November 2015, right after the ghastly Islamic terror attacks in Paris that took the lives of 130 people. Nearly two dozen states made the same announcement that month.
At the time, the Obama administration brushed these declarations off as unenforceable. And in fact, in 2016, Obama has significantly increased the total number of refugees admitted to the U.S. He is programming an even greater increase in refugee admissions for 2017.
In December 2015, Texas sued the federal government to stop resettling refugees in Texas until there was a better procedure for security vetting, and for notifying the state of security (and other) information about the refugees. Texas also pressed the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the NGOs contracted by the U.S. government to resettle the refugees, for information on them. The IRC declined to cooperate.
In bringing the lawsuit, Texas cited the Refugee Act of 1980, which requires that the federal government consult with state authorities in advance of any relocations. No such consultation has been forthcoming. In November 2015, in fact, Congress discovered that state governments, as well as Congress, were learning about refugee arrivals only after the fact, from local media, which occasionally extracted information from the NGO resettlement agencies.
This pattern would certainly comport with the secrecy Obama’s activist army has tried to maintain about refugee resettlement plans.
The Texas lawsuit was dismissed by the federal judge in Dallas in June 2016. Texas is now appealing that decision.
As recounted by LU contributor Kenric Ward, in January, resettlement has already had a profound and negative effect on the medium-size city of Amarillo, in the Texas panhandle. Amarillo is no stranger to “diversity.” But as of January, the city had been flooded with 1,000 refugees from the Middle East (more than 5,200 from all sources of refugees, including Africa, South Asia, and Central America), who are creating ethnic ghettos and introducing Amarillo to the joys of soaring crime and tribal gang conflict.
(Plus, refugees are bringing in an exceptionally high incidence of tuberculosis – which, bonus, is being spread around Texas by the administratively driven practice of shuttling refugees with minor children from one holding facility to another around the state.)
Texas has had no success so far with the measures to stem the refugee tide. The refugees just keep being brought in by the NGO agencies. If the “withdrawal” announcement is to mean anything, the governor will have to do something like physically prevent the NGOs from continuing their operations: e.g., blocking them from contracting housing for the refugees, preventing the refugees from taking up residence, refusing to enroll the refugees in welfare programs or schools.
All of this, of course, would trigger intergovernmental confrontations on some level. Alert readers will have noticed that Governor Abbott appears to be kicking the can down the road, setting the “withdrawal” date for after the inauguration of the next president. This will give the federal appeals court time to hear the case based on the 1980 refugee law. It will also give the next president an opportunity to address Texas’s concerns about lack of coordination and security vetting.
In the meantime, the refugees keep coming. Many of them will assimilate with few problems. “Refugees” certainly aren’t a monolithic bloc of undesirables, and America is a welcoming nation (and has never needed lectures on that head).
But the number of refugees who are predictably creating unnecessary problems for the receiving communities is exceptionally high today. This is not too hard a problem to deal with; it’s just one the Obama administration would rather break the law and break faith with the American people than deal with.