Gov. Greg Abbott, who was confident just three weeks ago that he had the authority to reject Syrian refugees aiming to resettle in Texas, is now backing Sen. Ted Cruz on a bill to give governors that ability.
Abbott said on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday that the Cruz bill “builds on the authority” he already has. And he told the Fox Business Network that Texas intends to continue its litigation against a resettlement agency based on that existing authority.
Still, the state has backed away from seeking immediate court action to block refugees, and the judge in the case has said it could be weeks before the case is heard.
Meanwhile, 21 newly arrived Syrian refugees are being resettled in Texas and have not been blocked by the governor.
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Abbott said the Cruz bill would allow any of the 50 governors to “unilaterally” reject the resettlement of any refugees in their states if they believe those refugees raise the risk of terrorism.
While fear of terrorism directed from or influenced by the Islamic State in places like Syria is legitimate, the refugee program already includes a vetting process that takes up to two years. Adding 50 new decision-makers at the end of that process hardly seems workable.