During the lead up to the 2016 Presidential election, there was a lot of conversations about refugees. The Democrats wanted to bring over as many of them as humanely possible. This was despite the fact they could represent a significant risk to the rest of the country.
After President Trump was inaugurated, one of his first orders was to institute a travel ban on refugees coming from seven Muslim-majority countries. Although the initial travel ban, and the amended one after that, was stopped by federal judges, the message was clear. President Trump doesn’t want refugees coming to the country unless there is a proper vetting procedure in place. Now the state of Texas took things one step further.
The Texas Senate just voted to completely wipe out the state’s refugee office. Governor Greg Abbott and other Texans in the state have resisted having refugees arrive, as they have represented a constant stance of distress for the people. Abbott even had an order in place to stop the state from resettling Syrian refugees.
The Texas Senate voted on Monday to destroy both the Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs, as well as the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Immigration and Refugees. The bill in question, Senate Bill 260, was right down party lines, but passed by a vote of 20-10.
Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas), the author of the bill, spoke about what this legislation is going to do for Texas. He claims that “the federal refugee program is broken,” and Senate Bill 260 “will keep Texans safe by helping to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of Texas.” This act also goes hand-in-hand with Governor Abbott’s decision to remove Texas from the federal refugee resettlement program.
Governor Abbott originally refused to participate in the refugee resettlement program back in November of 2015. It was around the aftermath of the Paris bombings. Once that happened, the Lone Star State Governor issued an order to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettle Program. He said to “not participate in the resettlement of nay Syrian refugees in the State of Texas.”
He didn’t stop there, as Abbott then sent a letter to former President Obama about the refugee plan. “Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas.”
At the same time, he attempted to urge the then-President “to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States.” The attack was the deadliest in a western city since 9/11. Over 150 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. The event was planned and executed by ISIS agents.
Breitbart Texas had obtained a statement by the Senator who authored the bill. Senator Huffines said, “Washington must listen to Texas and give our elected leaders a voice in all aspects of the refugee resettlement process. The Governor and the Legislature have an obligation to keep Texans safe, and it’s one that we take very seriously. Texans have big hearts and are a generous people, but we must stop refugee resettlement until the program makes sense for our state, and our people.”
The Senator once helped out refugees during the 1980s. His wife was a director of the Catholic Charities of Dallas refugee program. However, he knows that the current refugee resettlement program is in need of an update. “I have toured UN refugee camps. I’m deeply familiar with the struggle refugees face, but I am also keenly aware that the program is outdated and built for the Cold War, not the war that terrorists are striving to bring back to U.S. shores. We will not allow our generosity to be exploited by those who would kill and maim innocent Texans.”
Senate Bill 260 also gives the state the option to go back into the refugee resettlement program, but only if, or when, they find it acceptable to do so. The next step is to have the Texas House consider the bill. If they pass it, then there isn’t a reason to think that Governor Abbott wouldn’t sign the bill into law.
After all, the Texas Governor has been a fierce proponent of immigration reform. He has been extremely vocal in terms of immigration. At the end of last month, Governor Abbott finally had enough of sheriffs of “sanctuary cities” opposing the law. He signed a bill that would allow sheriffs of sanctuary cities to be jailed if they continue to go against the law.
That wasn’t all the Governor did. He made a threat to one sanctuary city to remove funding should they continue their sanctuary activities. The threat involved stripping funding that is given by the government. It wasn’t just a bluff either; Governor Abbott actually did it.
The Texas Senate just took the first step to getting rid of more refugees in the state. By voting to abolish the refugee resettlement office, it’s just one more step to making sure the State is safe. It’s far from over though, as the House still needs to vote on it. It’s also just affecting the state of Texas, but hopefully President Trump can do something to affect the entire country.