Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are teaming up to push a new bill that would allow states to opt out of receiving refugees. Cruz is introducing the bill after Abbott’s much-publicized efforts to block Syrian refugees from coming to Texas mostly failed.
During a press conference with Abbott on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Cruz announced legislation that would allow governors to opt out of the federal refugee resettlement program if the they believe the federal government is not up to the task of vetting refugees.
“ISIS’s capabilities have eluded even the president of the United States. That is why Texas and other states are doing even more to make sure we safeguard the security of the citizens of our states,” Abbott said.
So far more than 30 governors have announced they will block refugees from coming to the states, but under the current Refugee Act of 1980, the federal government has full jurisdiction over where refugees are settled as long as they regularly communicate with states.
Back in Texas, Abbott has been tangled up in a lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to keep Syrians from being settled in Texas. The state’s Health and Human Services department filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee last week charging the feds and resettling committee did not meet their obligation to communicate fully with the state. The state’s case has been weak, however, allowing Syrian refugees to be sent to Texas in the interim.
“America is a charitable nation, but we cannot allow charity for some to compromise the safety for all,” Abbot said.
This is the latest bill Cruz has introduced to make it harder for Syrians to come to the U.S. Cruz also introduced legislation imposing a three-year moratorium on refugees coming from countries where ISIS or al-Qaeda control territory, including Syria and Iraq.