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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

The state of Texas on Wednesday sued the federal government over plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the state, citing the government's failure to properly consult state officials, but it's not clear that immigration law will allow the state of Texas to prevail over the federal government when it comes to refugee resettlement, according to a legal expert.

In the complaint filed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the state claims that the federal government "breached this statutory duty of advance consultation" by preventing the state from receiving information about the refugees set to arrive in the state and by "refusing to consult with the State in advance on placement of refugees in Texas." The complaint cites a provision in the Refugee Act of 1980 that states that the federal government must consult with the states about plans to resettle refugees.

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After the state of Texas on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the federal government and aid organization International Rescue Committee (IRC), claiming that both failed to properly consult with the state about the arrival of Syrian refugees, the IRC issued a statement noting that the group has consulted with Texas for years.

"The International Rescue Committee has worked in coordination with Texas officials for forty years - to the benefit of Texas communities and the refugees we serve," the Wednesday night statement reads. "Refugees are victims of terror, not terrorists, and the families we help have always been welcomed by the people of Texas. The IRC acts within the spirit and letter of the law, and we are hopeful that this matter is resolved soon."

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A top fundraiser for Ben Carson quit his position on the presidential campaign's board on Wednesday as the retired neurosurgeon slips in the polls and struggles to demonstrate knowledge of foreign policy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"I disagree with the campaign, but I’m hoping and praying that the concerns I have are wrong," Bill Millis told the Wall Street Journal. "I’m one, and they are the masses. And they decided to move forward with the campaign as is."

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The brother-in-law of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects, addressed the public on Wednesday night during a press conference held by Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"I just cannot express how sad I am for what happened today," Farhan Khan told reporters on Wednesday. "I express my condolences to the people who lost their life."

Khan said that he last spoke to Farook about a week ago. And when asked if his brother-in-law was religious, Khan told reporters that he didn't have a comment.

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This post has been updated.

The aid organization International Rescue Committee (IRC) plans on welcoming two Syrian refugee families to Dallas, Texas, within the next ten days despite a legal threat from the state government, the Dallas Morning News reported on Wednesday.

"We are also hoping to meet with Governor Abbott to do our piece to persuade him and other officials of State of the integrity of the refugee security process," Lucy Carrigan, a spokeswoman for the IRC, told the Dallas Morning News.

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Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chairman of the House Science Committee, has been pressing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for months to turn over internal communications regarding a climate study, but on Tuesday Smith took a small step backward with his demands, the Washington Post reported.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Pritzker, Smith said that he would let NOAA prioritize emails from non-scientist officials at the agency regarding the climate study published in June.

"In order to move the Committee’s work forward and to allow for further discussions on issues related to the subpoenaed communications about which the agency and the Committee disagree, the Committee is willing to accommodate NOAA and prioritize communications sent and received by non-scientific personnel," he wrote in the letter. "However, this prioritization does not alleviate NOAA’s obligation to respond fully to the Committee’s subpoena."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on Wednesday morning that even though he is "reluctant" to undo Medicaid expansion in Arizona, he will ultimately vote for the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare.

The senator made the comments at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C., when he was asked if he had any reservations about the Obamacare repeal bill's inclusion of a measure to end the law's Medicaid expansion. The Arizona government expanded Medicaid in the state through the Affordable Care Act.

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An Iowa Republican lawmaker this week suggested that the federal government consider executing some undocumented immigrants who try to re-enter the United States after being deported for committing a felony.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren, who is running for Congress, told the Knoxville Journal Express about his plans for punishing certain undocumented immigrants in an extensive interview published on Monday:

If one is found to have crossed into the country illegally, committed a felony while here, then been deported, he supports executing that individual if they break America's immigration laws a second time.

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Ben Carson on Tuesday said that the U.S. should not accept refugees from Syria because they will be easily targeted by terrorists, adding that Americans’ resentment of Syrian refugees could increase the likelihood of refugees’ “radicalization.”

"You bring a lot of people here from another culture and what they will tend to do is congregate together, that’s a natural thing, which makes them much easier targets for radicalization," Carson said on Breitbart News Radio. "Particularly if you bring them into an environment where a lot people of are resentful of the fact that they are here. That’s just going to create incidents that will increase further the likelihood of radicalization."

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