Federal judge rejects Texas attempt to block Syrian refugees
Federal judge rejects Texas attempt to block Syrian refugees

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas [official website] on Wednesday signed an order [text] rejecting Texas’ attempts to halt Syrian refugee [JURIST report] resettlement in the state. The order provided a factual summary stating that because Texas “fails to state a plausible claim for relief” the court would dismiss the case. The court held that the Refugee Act did not “confer a private right of action for the States to enforce its provisions” and the Administrative Procedure Act did not “provide … a cause of action because advance consultation under the Refugee Act is not ‘agency action’ within the meaning of the statute.” The court also held that the Declaratory Judgment Act did not provide a cause of action. While the ruling has been praised by some, such as Jennifer Sime, senior vice president of US programs for the International Rescue Committee, as an affirmation of “America’s proud history in providing refuge for the world’s most vulnerable,” it has not been lauded by all. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick believes that “the ruling will hamper state efforts to acquire necessary information before refugees arrive in Texas.”

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. In March a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana blocked [JURIST report] Governor Mike Pence’s order keeping Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana. In February the same federal judge in Texas preliminarily rejected the Texas lawsuit seeking to halt the federal resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state. The judge ruled that Texas officials had failed to show a “substantial threat of irreparable injury” in their request for an injunction to stop further Syrian refugee resettlement. Refugee resettlement is also controversial in Europe. Also in February the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that new measures put in place by many European countries are too restrictive and place undue hardships [JURIST reports] on refugees and asylum-seekers.