US state backs down from blocking Syrian refugees

Texas sued the federal government over plans to resettle 21 Syrians, mostly children, over safety concerns.

United States
Texans show support for Muslim members of the community near the Clear Lake Islamic Center in Webster, Texas [David J. Phillip/AP]

The US state of Texas has stopped trying to block Syrian refugees from resettling there after suing the US government over fears new arrivals could pose a security risk.

A total of 21 Syrian refugees, most of whom are 13 years old or younger, are scheduled to resettle next week in the cities of Dallas and Houston.

“All they’re asking for is safety,” said Lucy Carrigan, spokeswoman for the nonprofit International Rescue Committee (IRC), which is coordinating the Dallas resettlements.

Since the Paris attacks on November 13, at least 29 US governors have vowed to keep new Syrian refugees outside their state borders.

 Republicans demand greater screening of refugees

Texas on Wednesday became the first to take the federal government to court, but legal experts called the lawsuit futile, saying states have no authority over resettlements. The lawsuit was dropped on Friday.

“I think that it’s the first sign that Texas is beginning to see the light,” said Cecillia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Details about the refugees were closely guarded by resettlement organisers over safety concerns. Last month, armed protesters with long guns staged a small demonstration outside a suburban Dallas mosque.

The Obama administration has announced plans to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees nationwide and defends the screening process as rigorous. 

Source: AP


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