The Group Resettling Syrian Refugees In Houston Provides Minimal Information

Refugee Services of Texas, which so far has relocated a group of six people, cites “safety and privacy concerns.”


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Envelopes and posters sit on a table on campus.
Students at the University of Houston organized a letter writing drive to express their support for Syrian refugees.

According to information provided by the federal government, a group of six Syrian refugees, including an undisclosed number of minors, arrived in Houston on Monday.

However, Refugee Services of Texas, the Dallas-based group that is coordinating the resettling, declined to provide any further information.

"Due to safety and privacy concerns, we can't disclose resettlement details of our client families," said Chris Kelley, spokesman for Refugee Services of Texas.

The resettlement comes as Texas has sued the federal government arguing it is not providing state authorities with enough information about the refugees.

Additionally, U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has introduced legislation to establish a nationwide moratorium on the resettlement of any new Syrians.

One of the bills filed by Cruz would also allow governors to opt out of receiving refugees in their states.

Emran El-Badawi, who works as Director of Arab Studies at the University of Houston‘s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, thinks the current political climate is part of the motivation for Refugee Services of Texas to be so protective of the groups arriving this week.

"The procedures that they have undertaken even recently, increasingly in recent days given the heightened political climate, is, I think, quite justified," noted El-Badawi.

A second group of nine Syrian refugees is scheduled to arrive in Houston this Thursday.

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