Gov. Abbott Says Texas Will Not Accept New Refugees

Abbott is the first governor to opt out of the refugee resettlement program.

Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott has told the U.S. State Department Texas will not accept refugees in the 2020 fiscal year.

In a letter dated Jan. 10, Abbott tells U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, "Texas has carried more than its share in assisting the refugee resettlement process and appreciates that other states are available to help with these efforts."

Abbott also said Texas has a history of welcoming many refugees over the years but cited the current immigration crisis as a drain on the state's resources and the reason it can not accept refugees this fiscal year.

"Texas has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system," Abbott said. "At this time, the state and nonprofit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless — indeed, all Texans."

Abbott is the first governor to opt out of the refugee resettlement program. The majority of states have confirmed they will participate.

An executive order issued by President Trump last year requires local and state governments to provide written consent for refugee resettlement in their jurisdiction. The executive order also cut the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. by nearly half.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price sent a letter to Abbott in late November asking that he give written consent to allow refugees to continue to resettle in the city and the state. In December, Dallas County Commissioners passed a resolution asking Abbott to do the same.

This piece was originally published on KERA.