On January 10, Texas announced that it would no longer resettle refugees, ending the state's participation in a decades-old program that is a lifeline for people fleeing violence and persecution.
Just days later, a federal judge temporarily halted the Trump Administration executive order that allowed state and local governments to opt out of resettling refugees. Texas had been the first state to take advantage of the new policy. Forty-three governors—19 of them Republicans— have already approved resettlement in their states.
While the temporary stay is a win for resettlement, our work is not yet finished. Governors around the country still need to hear that efforts to support refugees matter—and that their communities stand for welcome.
Texas’s decision was out of touch
Governor Greg Abbott’s decision was out of touch with the 42 governors—19 of them Republicans—who had already approved resettlement in their states. It was out of touch with the many Texas cities that have already said they want to resettle refugees in their communities. It was also out of touch with the Texas business community, which needs refugees as employees, entrepreneurs, and customers.
Above all, the move would have harmed refugees as families remained separated as a result of the Texas decision. While refugees resettled in other states would have been free to move to Texas and join relatives already living there, they would have faced roadblocks to rebuilding their lives. There would be limited access to vital services from resettlement agencies such as the International Rescue Committee during their first 90 days in the U.S., to address needs such as health screenings, English language lessons, job-readiness classes, and enrollment in school for their children
How you can help
Whether you live in Texas or a state that already opened its doors, you can take action to make sure refugees remain welcome in your community.
If you live in Texas, call Governor Abbott (you can also send an email or tweet) and tell him that you support refugee resettlement and want to see the state’s long tradition of welcome continue.
In the 43 states that have already agreed to resettle refugees
Watch and share our video below, and spread the word about what we stand to lose if we don’t welcome refugees.