Federal Judge Denies Bid by Texas to Block Syrian Refugees

On December 9, 2015 United States District Judge David Godbey denied a request for a second temporary restraining order to halt the settlement of Syrian refugees in Texas. See December 9 Order

According to the Dallas Morning News, the order came after Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton made the repetitive request on behalf of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in Dallas, citing evidence that included statements that “terrorist organizations have infiltrated the very refugee program that is central to the dispute.”

Rejecting such assertions, Judge Godbey observed acerbically in the two-page ruling: “[t]he Court finds that the evidence before it is largely speculative hearsay…the commission has failed to show by competent evidence that any terrorists actually have infiltrated the refugee program, much less that these particular refugees are terrorists’ intent on causing harm.”

The request was filed a day before a family of eight Syrian refugees was set to arrive in Houston.  According to the Justice Department, the refugees scheduled to arrive in Texas “consist of displaced Syrian families – children, their parents, and in one case their grandparents – and a single woman who seeks to be reunited with her mother.”

Following the November attacks in Paris, Texas officials have stridently voiced their opposition to the refugee resettlement program and the actions of the International Rescue Committee, one of 20 private non-profits that helps asylum-seekers to relocate.

Moreover, Texas was among 30 states which vowed to not to let Syrian refugees into their jurisdictions. The states avowals triggered a warning from the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which said that barring refugees based on their country of origin or religion would be illegal.

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