Federal Judge Rules Texas Can't Keep Out Syrian Refugees

Feb 8, 2016

A federal judge in Dallas has ruled against Texas’ efforts to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.  

Dallas Federal District Judge David Godsby said the State had failed to show how allowing the federal government to work with local non-profits to resettle Syrian refugees posed a creditable threat to the state.   Godsby said, that state Republican leaders' attempts to block families fleeing the war-torn country need to be handled through "the political process" and not the courtroom.

Rebecca Robertson is the senior legal counsel with the ACLU of Texas and is representing the International Rescue Committee, which was sued by the State after Republican leadership at the capitol demanded non-profits stop working with federal officials to settle Syrian families in Texas.

“There is nothing in the law that gives the state veto power over any decision of the federal government or permits any state to discriminate against certain refugees based on their nationality, in fact the law says just the opposite," Robertson explained.

The lawsuit was filed after nearly 30 states vowed to ban Syrian refugees following the terror attacks in Paris in November, which have been linked to the Islamic State operating in Syria and Iraq.

The judge says it would be "foolish" to deny that Syrian refugees pose some danger but says Texas has offered no evidence of a substantial risk.