The Number Of Refugees Resettled In Texas Has Dropped Drastically

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 4, 2018 1:13 pm

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

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will now allow places of worship that were damaged during Hurricane Harvey to apply for relief funds. A lawsuit brought by three South Texas churches contributed to this change in FEMA policy.

While it’s not clear exactly how many churches were affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston says more than half of their 146 parishes were damaged by the storm.

Reverend Dave Welsh, president of the U.S. Pastor Council, spoke with Houston Public Media.

“We’re very glad that they took the step to make the change, and now churches who have that need because of damaged facilities can have access if they so choose,” Welsh says.

A-soon-to-be released Policy Guide will explain exactly how all religious institutions, not just churches, can apply for FEMA funds.

This past September, President Donald Trump drastically lowered the cap for refugee admissions in fiscal year 2018 to 45,000 people. That’s down from 110,000 people under President Obama.

Texas refugee service agencies say the state’s already feeling this shift in policy. Aaron Rippenkroeger is the CEO of Refugee Services of Texas.

“We have seen a trending downward of client figures, client caseloads across the board, as have pretty much every related organization across the country. We’ve seen a trending down,” says Rippenkroeger.

He says in the first three months of fiscal year 2018 – which started October 1 – approximately 400 refugees have been resettled in Texas. That’s less than one tenth of the number of refugees placed here during the last fiscal year.

Rippenkroeger says their clients have also been asking whether their family members will be able to join them in the U.S. and right now those answers aren’t clear.

“The state of confusion over what’s happening with their case being activated and deactivated and then back and forth, heartbreaking stories, heartbreaking,” says Rippenkroeger, “and as I mentioned, in some cases life-threatening. This is a life-saving program and it always has been.”

Rippenkroeger says refugees arriving in Texas are typically people from Iraq and Afghanistan who assisted the U.S. military. Other major groups include Congolese and Burmese refugees.

The Dallas Mavericks have selected a new Chinese team name with help from NBA fans in China. For more than 20 years the name “Mavericks” has been translated into Chinese as “Little Cows.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talked with ESPN in October.

“I wasn’t happy. Obviously, no one wants to be a little cow, so I’m glad we’re going to get an opportunity to change it,” Cuban said.

The Mavericks received more than 50,000 suggestions for new names and narrowed it down to three finalists for Chinese fans to vote on. And the new moniker was revealed last night. That new Chinese name – DuXingXia – roughly translates to “Lone Ranger Heroes.”