Texas officials are escalating their opposition to Syrian refugees with a new message aimed specifically at resettlement groups that have indicated they will accept people fleeing the war-torn country: change your mind or risk getting sued by the state.
Texas health commissioner Chris Traylor issued the first lawsuit threat over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in a letter to the Dallas branch of the International Rescue Committee, which said earlier this month that it supports accepting Syrian refugees.
“We have been unable to achieve cooperation with your agency,” Traylor wrote in the letter, which was released to the Houston Chronicle late Sunday, adding that, “Failure by your organization to cooperate with the State of Texas as required by federal law may result in the termination of your contract with the state and other legal action.”
Similar letters are expected to be sent to any refugee resettlement group that takes a similar position against Gov. Greg Abbott. The Republican is among more than 30 governors who declared that they will not accept Syrian refugees due to security concerns in the days after terrorists with ties to the Syria-based Islamic State killed at least 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13.