New York, NY, January 10, 2020 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds today to the state of Texas withdrawing from the US refugee resettlement program. The IRC currently has two resettlement offices in the state, Dallas and Abilene, and has resettled refugees in Texas since 1975.
Jennifer Sime, Senior Vice President of Resettlement, Asylum and Integration at the International Rescue Committee:
“Gov. Abbott’s decision to opt out of the US refugee resettlement program is as shameful as it is out of touch. It is out of touch with Texas’s tradition of welcome. Out of touch with 42 governors across the country who approved resettlement, and out of touch with the business community that needs refugees. This is not good for refugees and it is not good for Texas.”
“In addition to making refugees’ lives harder, Texas now forfeits the opportunity for a growing business community that depends on refugees. It forfeits the cultural contributions, the growth, and ingenuity the state has come to enjoy through resettling refugees.”
Refugees – like any other group – are admitted to the United States, and enjoy freedom of movement that will not stop with this decision. President Trump’s Executive Order decentralizing this program and offering an “opt out” will not mean refugees will stop moving to Texas or any other state that opts out. What it will mean is added stress for families and communities, who will now lack federal funding, and the resettlement expertise that helps ensure refugees can get a job, start a business, or buy a home. It will undoubtedly lead to family separation as well.
To date, 42 states have consented to resettlement, including 19 states led by a Republican. In declining to resettle refugees, Texas stands to lose millions in federal resources and economic stimulus. Analysis has estimated refugees’ contributions in the state of Texas at $4.6 billion.
The International Rescue Committee calls on the people of Texas to speak out in support of this critical humanitarian program.