Gov. Greg Abbott, in a letter to President Obama on Monday, said the state of Texas would refuse Syrian refugees following the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed over 120 citizens.
In this letter, Abbott said a Syrian refugee appears to have taken part in the Paris attack and could be a danger to Americans, including Texas residents.
“The threat posed to Texas by ISIS is very real,” Abbott said in his letter. “ISIS claimed credit last May when two terrorist gunmen launched an attack in Garland, Texas. Less than two weeks later, the FBI arrested an Iraqi-born man in North Texas and charged him with lying to federal agents about traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS. And in 2014, when I served as Texas attorney general, we participated in a Joint Terrorism Task Force that arrested two Austin residents for providing material support to terrorists — including ISIS.”
Abbott’s decision and similar action from nearly two-dozen other U.S. governors — all but one being Republican — violates rights in the Constitution establishing states do not have the right to dictate immigration policies to the federal government. The Supreme Court case Hines v. Davidowitz says “the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.”
The Refugee Act of 1980 also states the President of the United States can admit refugees if they are being persecuted based on race, religion, nationality or being part of a social group or political opinion.
Abbott also announced he has directed the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees.