Texas has officially withdrawn from the nation’s refugee resettlement program, Gov. Greg Abbott's office said Friday. But that won't stop the federal government from continuing to help refugees relocate here.
Citing security concerns, Abbott's office said Texas will no longer participate in the federal program, which helps thousands of refugees from around the world resettle in the state. State officials threatened last week to withdraw from the resettlement program if the feds did not “unconditionally approve” its amended state plan to only accept refugees who “are fully vetted and do not present a security threat” — part of Texas’ efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of the state.
“Texas has repeatedly requested that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the director of national intelligence provide assurances that refugees resettled in Texas will not pose a security threat, and that the number of refugees resettled in Texas would not exceed the state’s original allocation in fiscal year 2016 – both of which have been denied by the federal government," Abbott said in a statement.
Federal officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. They've previously stressed that refugees are only settled in the United States after lengthy, stringent security screenings that can take up to two years. Security officials with the state department conduct background and biometric screenings, and process applications received through the United Nations, which operates refugee camps around the world.
Texas' withdrawal from the resettlement program is the latest in its efforts to keep Syrian refugees from entering the state.