Texas Agencies Scramble to Find Options for Incoming Refugees

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Michael MarksFebruary 1, 2017 10:57 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees continues to reverberate across Texas. Refugee Services of Texas said, as of Monday, the resettlement of 57 refugees in the state has been canceled due to the order, which includes a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

 There’s also a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somali, and Yemen.

 The suspension of the refugee program has forced groups that help resettle refugees to scramble. KERA’s Stella Chavez reports on how one agency is responding.

The International Rescue Committee has been working on resettling 20 refugees scheduled to arrive in Dallas this week. Since the executive order, 11 of those refugees have had their trips canceled. They’re from some of the seven Muslim-majority countries listed in the travel ban. Some fled Syria. Two of the affected families are from Iraq.

Daley Ryan is the rescue committee’s deputy director.

“Two of the families where the principal applicants of the families – the husbands and fathers had worked as translators and interpreters for the U.S. military during Operation Freedom,” he says. 

Ryan says all of the refugees had been vetted and cleared to come to the U.S. And they were supposed to reunite with family in Dallas.

“This is really depriving those innocent families who have already gone through the process,” he says. “They’re the most security-vetted group to enter the United Sates and slamming America’s door to them puts innocent lives at risk and it does absolutely nothing to make us any safer.”

The International Rescue Committee is planning on welcoming nine other refugees to North Texas this week. They’re from Nepal and El Salvador.


A Texas politician is taking a strong stance against President Trump’s executive order, filing a resolution Monday in the state House of Representatives strongly condemning it. Representative Rafael Anchia, a Democrat from Dallas, filed the resolution. He called the executive order “an open act of discrimination against Muslims,” in violation of the Constitution.

“On 5th Amendment grounds, when you start messing with legal permanent residents without justification, that creates a huge problem,” he said. “It’s un-American because we’re sending the wrong signal to the treat of the world about how we treat our allies in the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaida.”

That second point refers to the block on immigration from Iraq, affecting people whose safety there is threatened because they have worked with the U.S. military.

In contrast – other Texas lawmakers have supported the measure, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He called the travel ban a commonsense step on the way to creating quote “stronger vetting procedures.”

Former President George H.W. Bush has been released from a Houston hospital. Bush spent the last two weeks receiving treatment for pneumonia at Houston Methodist Hospital.

His wife, former first lady Barbara Bush was also briefly hospitalized during his stay and treated for bronchitis. At 92-years-old, Bush is the oldest living president.