Breaking: Abbott Blinks on Refugees After Siding With Ku Klux Klan

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When it comes to the company he wants to keep, Greg Abbott has sided with the KKK over a four-year-old. And a seven-year-old. And their grandparents. Of course, of their parents.

A family of Syrian refugees who already have family in Dallas are stuck in New York City today while Greg Abbott plays his favorite high-stakes game—let’s sue the federal government. Meanwhile, planning ahead to make sure they can actually secure a permit to demonstrate, the Ku Klux Klan prepares for a “mosque rally” next May in Irving.

In case you are unclear of where the KKK stands on Syrian refugees, or what the motive behind a mosque rally might be:

We are the largest and fastest growing organization that is Pro-White, Pro-Christian and Racial Independence here in the Southern States. We seek membership only to [sic]those individuals who display the qualities of loyalty, dedication and the unselfish desire to secure the existence of our race and a future for white children here in America.

Texas Health and Human Services executive commissioner Chris Traylor sent a letter last Wednesday threatening legal action against the International Rescue Committee should they disobey Abbott’s command that they refuse to settle Syrian migrants in Texas.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) booked the flights, so Abbott made good on his threat.

In the meantime, the federal government responded to the lawsuit, and announced that no Syrians would come to Texas this week.

They also announced, however, that Syrians would come next week, arriving in Dallas on Monday, just as another 6-person Syrian family arrives in Houston. Later in the week, 9 more Syrians will be welcomed to Houston. Maybe not by Greg Abbott and his misguided, xenophobic supporters, but by everyone else.

Earlier this afternoon, Texas suddenly withdrew its request for an emergency order blocking refugees, so two of the three families are on their way:

Abbott, an attorney, understands that he’s not really in a position to command anything. State law will never trump federal law when it comes to matters of immigration and refugees.

Both the Constitution and federal law prohibit states from picking and choosing among refugees, as they are proposing to do here by discriminating against Syrians. Indeed, multiple Supreme Court decisions dating back to the late 1800s make it clear that states are constitutionally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of national origin or denying the opportunity to live or seek work to immigrants once the federal government has seen fit to admit them.

Abbott’s dubious claim to having any say whatsoever in this matter comes from the fact that the federal statute addressing the process of resettlement says that nonprofit agencies must consult with state officials. This section of the US code, however, also states in no uncertain terms that:

Assistance and services funded under this section shall be provided to refugees without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, or political opinion.
Saying Texas won’t take Syrians, or Muslims, or Muslim Syrians, or will only take Christians, clearly violates the statute.
Abbott undoubtedly withdrew the motion knowing the whole case might well get dismissed outright.
The state’s action leaves the IRC and other organizations to continue their efforts to live up to the promise on the Statue of Liberty.
Let’s hope so, anyway, because if we aren’t living up to that promise, we’ll be living down another ignominious chapter in the long book of Republican elected officials prioritizing political gamesmanship over people’s well-being.
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About Author

Andrea Greer

Andrea, an activist, fundraiser, feminist, writer, and baker, is not as tall as you think she is. She's been at this a long time, and wants to know what you are doing to make the pie higher and raise more hell. Her mother would like you to know she's got a law degree.

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