federal refugee resettlement program

Texas became the first state to announce it will opt out of a federal refugee resettlement program in 2020 – a decision made possible by an executive order by President Trump.

The move drew a reaction from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat and Somali immigrant who earlier in the week decried a similar move by county-level officials in her home state of Minnesota that was also facilitated by Trump’s order.

In a letter Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, argued that his state has already done “more than its fair share” in resettling refugees and “continues to have to deal with the consequences of an immigration system that Congress has failed to fix.”

In addition, he pointed out that, according to federal numbers, about 100,000 migrants have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas since May 2018. He also stated that in the 2018 fiscal year, Border Patrol agents apprehended migrants from China, Iran, Kenya, Russia and Tonga.


In response, Omar tweeted words from  “The New Colossus,” the 1883 sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that is mounted inside the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.

“With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,’” Omar quoted.

She then wrote, “These are the words that welcomed me and millions of refugees. I still believe in those values. We shall overcome.”

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