Texas stops effort to block Syrian refugees

2015-12-05 07:33
Syrian refugee Maryam al Jaddou and her twins at their apartment in Dallas. (LM Otero, AP)

Syrian refugee Maryam al Jaddou and her twins at their apartment in Dallas. (LM Otero, AP)

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Dallas - Texas backed down on Friday from an effort to block six Syrian refugees from resettling in Dallas after the Obama administration said in federal court that the state has no authority to do so.

Texas had been the first state to sue the US government in efforts to turn away Syrians following the deadly attacks in Paris last month. More than two dozen states have vowed to block Syrian refugees following the attacks.

The path is now cleared for the Syrian family, which includes two young children and their grandparents, to arrive as planned on Monday without interference from state Republican leaders, who questioned whether the refugees posed a threat to public safety.

Another Syrian family of six, four of whom are 13 years old or younger, is also scheduled to resettle in Houston on Monday.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week sued the US government and the non-profit International Rescue Committee in an attempt to stop new Syrian refugees from being resettled.

Paxton, however, says he is not entirely dropping the lawsuit. He still wants a hearing next week that would give Texas assurances that the Obama administration will work with the state on refugee resettlement.

Court documents show that, in all, 21 Syrian refugees are scheduled to be resettled in Dallas and Houston by Thursday. A dozen of the refugees arrived in New York on Thursday and Friday, according to court records.

Federal officials have called Texas' fears over security unfounded and argued that the state's stance would harm national interests that are determined by President Barack Obama.

Texas "has made no showing that these refugees pose any threat, much less an imminent one, to the safety or security of Texas residents or any other Americans", the Obama administration told the court. The federal government insists refugee vetting is thorough and can take up to two years.

The federal government argued that Texas was seeking "an unwarranted veto power over individual federal refugee resettlement decisions".

The International Rescue Committee is not supervising all the refugee placements, but it was not immediately clear what other aid groups were involved.

Read more on:    us  |  syria  |  migrants

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