Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday, Jan. 10, that his state will not accept new refugees in 2020.
According to The Associated Press, the decision made Texas the first state to decline refugee resettlement, after President Trump signed an executive order allowing governors to refuse to do so.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abbott said Texas has accepted more refugees than any other state since 2010.
“In fact, over that decade, roughly 10% of all refugees resettled in the United States have been placed in Texas. Even today, the process of resettling continues for many of these refugees,” Abbott wrote.
The governor also said that his duty is to protect the people of Texas.
“In June 2019, individuals from 52 different countries were apprehended here,” Abbott wrote. “And in (2018), the apprehensions included citizens from disparate countries like China, Iran, Kenya, Russia, and Tonga.”
“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 added.
The governor then said that Texas can’t accept additional refugees this year because Congress has left the state “to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system.”
Abbott noted that the decision does not preclude any refugee from later coming to Texas after initially settling in another state.
Finally, Abbott concluded his letter with the following thoughts, “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.”