Washington, DC –In response to the announcement from Governor Greg Abbott that Texas will block refugees from being resettled in the state, CWS President and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough issued the following statement:
“Governor Abbott’s decision is cruel, harmful and a rejection of the values of Texas communities. Texas has long been a leading state in refugee resettlement. It also flies in the face of our nation’s legacy of welcome supported by the governors from 42 states who have committed to continue welcoming refugees.
“The Mayors of San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth along with local officials across the state have voiced strong support for refugees resettlement citing the vast economic and civic benefits they bring to communities. In one fell swoop Governor Abbott has denied them the ability to do what is best for their communities.
“This decision will devastate refugee communities, lead to family separation for refugee families and leave refugees, former refugees and United States citizens without supportive services. It will devastate congregations that will not be able to live out their calling to welcome the stranger. It will devastate businesses that rely on the workforce and contributions of refugees.
“We hope that Governor Abbott will heed the call of Texan communities and reverse this harmful decision. As parties to the lawsuit challenging the executive order over all, we also hope that the court will block its implementation, so that Governor Abbott’s faulty decision cannot harm refugees and the communities that welcome them in Texas.”
Executive order 13888 was signed on September 26, 2019, and for the first time ever, requires resettlement agencies to obtain written consent from all localities and states in which they plan to resettle refugees. CWS, HIAS and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services have filed a case challenging the Executive Order. The court will consider whether to grant a preliminary injunction prior to the January 21 deadline by which resettlement agencies have to submit their proposals to operate the resettlement program in Fiscal Year 2020.