Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Federal Judge Denies Texas Request For Immediate Halt To Syrian Refugees

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to oppose resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday night, in a brief order, denied Texas's request that the federal government be barred from resettling Syrian refugees in Texas on Thursday.

"The Court does not downplay the risks that terrorism, as a general matter, may pose," U.S. District Court Judge David Godbey wrote. "It must, however, assess the risk, if any, posed by these particular refugees."

In a lawsuit filed last week by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the state officials sued the Obama administration and a nonprofit refugee resettlement agency, arguing that the federal government is violating the law by failing to consult with Texas officials about its refugee resettlement plans.

Although the Texas officials withdrew their initial request to the court hearing the case for a temporary restraining order that would have put an immediate halt to refugee resettlement there, they filed a new request for a temporary restraining order on Wednesday.

Nine Syrian refugees are due to be resettled in the state on Thursday. The request sought an order stopping those nine people from being resettled in Texas.

"The Commission argues that terrorists could have infiltrated the Syrian refugees and could commit acts of terrorism in Texas," Godbey wrote in denying the request. "The 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."

Read Texas's request:

Read the order:

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