Refugee Congress Condemns Texas Governor’s Decision to End Refugee Resettlement

Jan. 11, 2020

WASHINGTONRefugee Congress issued the following statement in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to block refugee resettlement in Texas:

“As an organization built and led by resettled refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants, we are devastated by Governor Abbott’s shortsighted and cruel decision not to continue refugee resettlement in Texas, contrary to the declarations of support from several major cities including San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth.

A loss of refugee resettlement in Texas is a loss for the entire state and country. We grieve for the refugees impacted by this decision who will face longer family separations and the loss of support services, and for communities across Texas who face the loss of the many economic and cultural benefits refugees bring.

Refugees are not a burden. They are engineers, teachers, social workers, entrepreneurs, neighbors and friends whose cultural, economic and civic contributions make an enormously positive difference in their communities across Texas. 

Refugee Congress strongly urges Governor Abbott to reverse his decision and join the bipartisan support that refugee resettlement has received from more than 40 governors that have declared their intention to continue welcoming refugees.”

Governor Abbott is the first governor to block resettlement since President Trump signed Executive Order 13888 enabling states and localities to block refugee resettlement.

Three refugee resettlement agencies — Church World Service, HIAS and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service — have challenged the executive order with a lawsuit, in collaboration with the International Refugee Assistance Project. The court will determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction before the January 21 deadline for agencies to submit proposals to operate resettlement programs in Fiscal Year 2020.


Refugee Congress is a nonpartisan advocacy organization built and led by former refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants to promote the well-being, integration and dignity of all vulnerable migrants. With delegates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we use our voices and experiences to inform and influence decision-makers on critical domestic and international issues that affect our communities.

Kacy Kostiuk
Communications Manager
(202) 905-6238