Texas Governor Abbot announced in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday that Texas would refuse settling refugees in 2020.
Texas has been the state with the most settled refugees since 2010, and the announcement marks a stark change from previous policy. The governor attributed his decision to over-strained resources:
At this time, the state and non-profit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless—indeed, all Texans. As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020. This decision does not deny any refugee access to the United States. Nor does it preclude a refugee from later coming to Texas after initially settling in another state.
Texas’ refusal to accept refugees comes on the heels of an executive order promulgated in September. Executive Order 1388 requires that the federal government consult with local and state governments to settle refugees. It allows local and state governments to refuse refugee settlement in their communities and requires explicit consent from such communities for settlement. This order could allow many states and municipalities to follow Texas’ precedent and refuse settling refugees in 2020.