Someone needs to educate the lawmakers and judges in Texas. Two big lies are being told about refugee resettlement. These two lies ultimately hurt the American people they are elected to represent. If you are told that the refugee resettlement program is all paid for with federal dollars…IT’S A BIG LIE! If you are told that the refugees can be properly screened, IT’S A BIG LIE!
STATES ARE ON THE HOOK FOR MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND OUR FBI DIRECTOR HAS STATED REPEATEDLY THAT MUSLIM REFUGEES CANNOT BE PROPERLY SCREENED!
In fiscal 2015, 7,388 refugees settled in Texas. Most of them were from Myanmar or Iraq. Texas health agencies received $66 million from the federal government in 2015 for refugee-related services, with the state spending an additional $56 million, mostly on Medicaid-paid services.
Citing fears that refugees, particularly those arriving from Syria, could pose a terrorist threat, several Republican state senators pressed Thursday for additional background checks and tighter oversight on agencies that resettle refugees in Texas.
“Right now, there’s a civil war in Syria, and there are terrorists in Syria, and there have actually been various serious attacks in Europe,” state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, said during a Capitol hearing before the Committee on Health and Human Services.
Echoed by other Republicans, including Sen. Donna Campbell of New Braunfels, Schwertner said he wasn’t confident that the federal government is conducting complete background checks into potential refugees, and he suggested that state health agencies take more control over private resettlement organizations to ensure that new Texans are thoroughly investigated.
“We should have a refugee program, but my concern is for the safety of the citizens of Texas. That is my motivation,” said Schwertner, the committee chairman. “This population needs be thoroughly vetted.”
In fiscal 2015, 7,388 refugees — more than half of them women — settled in Texas. Most were from Myanmar or Iraq — 61 percent — while 2 percent were from Syria.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission contracts with — but doesn’t license — 19 state organizations to resettle refugees. The agency also offers services including Medicaid, translators and job placement to help refugees become self-sufficient.
Aaron Rippenkroeger, chief executive of Refugee Services of Texas, told the committee that refugees receive thorough background checks before they’re resettled, adding that his organization has never had to report a security risk to the federal government.
GOP officials in Texas have been grappling with the refugee situation since November, when Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to keep Syrian refugees out of the state amid heightened fears of terrorism in the days after the attacks in Paris.
Attempts by state Attorney General Ken Paxton to make good on Abbott’s promise, however, have fallen short.
A federal judge in Dallas has twice rejected Paxton lawsuits to block the imminent arrival of refugee Syrian families, saying in December that fears of terrorism were based on ***“speculative hearsay.”
Most recently, U.S. District Judge David Godbey said in February that state officials had failed to provide evidence that terrorists had infiltrated the refugee program, “much less that these particular refugees are terrorists intent on causing harm.”
***IS IT “SPECULATIVE HEARSAY” WHEN THE FBI DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR BOTH SAY THE REFUGEES CANNOT BE PROPERLY SCREENED?
Texas health agencies received $66 million from the federal government in 2015 for refugee-related services, with the state spending an additional $56 million, mostly on Medicaid-paid services.
Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, balked at the size of the state’s share and asked for more information to explain the cost.
According to figures shared with the committee, 13 percent of refugees sent to Texas settled in Austin in 2015, while Houston took in the largest share, 42 percent.
Local communities also bear some of the costs of settling refugees, including creating educational services for children and providing translation during 911 calls, Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole said.
Read more: My Statesman