In the battle over America’s borders, Vermont is asking the federal government for more refugees while Texas is demanding that Washington fix a flawed immigration system before it opens its doors again.
Last year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that gave states the power to opt out of the federal system of resettling refugees.
Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott responded by sending the Trump administration a letter calling for more refugees than the Green Mountain State currently gets, according to the Burlington Free Press.
“Since 1989, Vermont has welcomed almost 8,000 refugees,” Scott wrote in his letter. “Vermont’s refugee communities have made countless contributions to our state.”
Saying refugees are important to ensure the state has workers, the governor called for an extra helping.
“Prior to 2017, Vermont was resettling an average of approximately 324 refugees per year,” Scott wrote. “Through this consent process I hope to increase current resettlement to the level of 324-350 individuals annually. Vermont has never conditioned and will never condition refugee resettlement on a refugee’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.”
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state — on the front lines of the battle against illegal immigration — has had enough, making it the first state to use the powers granted by Trump and opt out of the resettlement pipeline, KTVT-TV reported.
Abbott, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, noted that Texas has been a major destination for refugees for many years.
“Texas is one of the most welcoming states for refugees seeking to escape dangers abroad. Since FY2010, more refugees have been received in Texas than in any other state. In fact, over that decade, roughly 10% of all refugees resettled in the United States have been placed in Texas. Even today, the process of resettling continues for many of these refugees,” he wrote.
However, Abbott said, the federal government has walked away from the state-federal partnership designed to deal with accepting refugees.
“In addition to accepting refugees all these years, Texas has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system. In May 2019, for example, around 100,000 migrants were apprehended crossing this state’s southern border. In June 2019, individuals from 52 different countries were apprehended here. And in FY2018, the apprehensions included citizens from disparate countries like China, Iran, Kenya, Russia, and Tonga,” he wrote.
“Texas continues to have to deal with the consequences of an immigration system that Congress has failed to fix,” Abbott wrote.
This is a disgraceful move by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He has completely submitted to bigotry and xenophobia. https://t.co/gbmtHWksId
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 10, 2020
However, in his letter, Abbott wrote that it’s time for Texas to put Texans first.
“At this time, the state and non-profit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless — indeed, all Texans. As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020. This decision does not deny any refugee access to the United States. Nor does it preclude a refugee from later coming to Texas after initially settling in another state,” he wrote.
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