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Paxton Seeks To Block Arrival of More Syrian Refugees

Pu Ying Huang/KUT News
Demonstrators outside of the Governor's Mansion in Austin protest the state's actions to block Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas.

From the Texas Tribune: The state of Texas is renewing its effort to immediately block the arrival of additional Syrian refugees, asking a federal court for a temporary restraining order barring nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the state on Thursday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to temporarily bar the refugees, citing security concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and the state’s deputy director of homeland security.

In his court filing, Paxton wrote that “evidence came to light” after a conference call this week with the court “that terrorist organizations have infiltrated the very refugee program that is central to the dispute before this Court.”

Paxton pointed to comments made by McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and testimony by Robert Bodisch, the deputy director of homeland security at the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The move comes less than a week after Texas withdrew its first request for a temporary restraining order to block the arrival of two Syrian families — 12 individuals including 6 children — that arrived in Houston and Dallas on Monday. The state had emphasized it would still move forward with its lawsuit requesting a preliminary injunction on Syrian refugee resettlement until the federal government and resettlement agencies provide Texas with more case information related to the refugees.

The federal government informed the state last week that the nine refugees that prompted the second restraining order request — a family of eight and a 26-year-old woman reuniting with her mother in the Houston area — would arrive in Texas on Thursday to be resettled.

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