Ken Paxton

Obama Administration Defies Court’s Directive; Settles Syrians in Texas Without Advance Notice or Information

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 – Austin, Texas

The Obama Administration has admitted in federal district court that it failed to provide the State with advance notice of Syrian refugees being settled in Texas, defying a judge’s directive. Additionally, another group of Syrian refugees were scheduled to arrive in Texas yesterday, and Texas has not been provided adequate information about these individuals, as required by law. The Attorney General’s Office today made a filing highlighting the need for injunctive relief in light of these recent events.

“The Obama Administration continues settling Syrian refugees in our neighborhoods and communities under a cloak of secrecy,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Last weekend the federal government settled refugees with no advance notice, in complete violation of a court’s directive, and were scheduled to bring more refugees to Texas without providing adequate information about who they are. The threat to our communities by foreign terrorists is real. The greater concern is not what we know about these refugees; it’s what we do not know.”

On Dec. 2, Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government to halt the relocation of refugees from Syria in the state because the federal government had not consulted with state authorities in advance of such relocations, in violation of the Refugee Act of 1980. The federal government is directing at least one nonprofit entity tasked with placing the refugees in Texas from disclosing even basic information that would help resolve Texas’s security concerns.

On Dec. 7, a federal district judge directed that the federal government provide the state with advance notice of its intent to settle refugees within the state.

On Jan. 22, the federal government submitted a filing admitting it resettled refugees in Texas without notifying the court or Texas.

Texas takes in roughly 10 percent of the refugees resettled in the United States, partnering with local volunteer agencies to help refugees transition to the State and pay associated costs. In this case, authorities have left Texas uninformed about refugees that could well pose a security risk to Texans and gives them no say in the process.

Members of the federal government have expressed concern regarding this massive expansion of refugees from an area engulfed in fighting with ISIS. FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the federal government cannot conduct effective security checks on Syrian nationals, testifying that “we can query our database until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of them.” National Intelligence Director James Clapper summed up the worries of these federal counterterrorism experts: “I don’t, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees.”

Earlier this month, federal authorities arrested two individual admitted to the United States through the refugee program for activities relating to supporting terrorism.

This is the second time in the past year that the Obama Administration has either defied or misled a federal court on major immigration issues. In March 2015, the Administration admitted that tens of thousands of expanded work permits had been issued to unauthorized aliens, in direct contradiction to the facts they presented in U.S. federal court.

To view the recent filing, please visit: