Texas Again Asks Federal Court To Block Syrian Refugees | KERA News

Texas Again Asks Federal Court To Block Syrian Refugees

Dec 9, 2015

Texas is again asking a federal judge to immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees, this time before nine are scheduled to arrive in Houston.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the request Wednesday. The Republican abruptly dropped a similar request last week after the Obama administration and ACLU responded in court that states don't have the authority to block refugees.

A dozen new Syrian refugees have already resettled in Texas this week. Six arrived in Dallas on Monday. Nine others are due to arrive Thursday in Houston.

But Paxton says individuals with ties to terrorism have tried entering the U.S. through the refugee program, citing comments this week by Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The White House says refugee vetting is thorough.

Texas is among nearly 30 states that have vowed to keep out Syrian refugees since the Paris attacks.

In Dallas, volunteers who regularly work with refugees say they've actually seen an uptick in donations and offers to help in the wake of more attention being paid to Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana says it will proceed with its lawsuit seeking to block Gov. Mike Pence's order barring state agencies from helping with the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Pence said Tuesday that he wouldn't stop the distribution of federal aid to Syrian refugees once they are settled in the state. But ACLU attorney Ken Falk said Wednesday that Pence's statements are at odds with the ACLU's understanding of the case.

Falk said there would be no need to sue if refugee assistance was not blocked. He also noted that lawyers for the state and the ACLU met with a federal judge and set a court date.

A statement issued by a spokesman for the Republican governor didn't directly address the ACLU's remarks.

Photo: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters