Refugee Resettlement Program

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Maryland has blocked the Trump administration's executive order allowing state and local governments to turn away refugees from resettling in their communities.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Texas’ Catholic bishops issued a sharp rebuke of Gov. Greg Abbott, a fellow Catholic, following his decision Friday to ban refugees from initially settling in Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas will not be resettling refugees in the new fiscal year, Gov. Greg Abbott told federal officials Friday.

State officials had until the end of the month to let federal officials know whether they would resettle refugees, many of whom are fleeing violence in their home countries. The federal government reimburses states for each person they resettle.

Protesters hold a sign that says "Refugees Welcome."
Pu Ying Huang for KUT

A large majority of the country’s governors have told the Trump administration that their states will continue accepting refugees, but with less than three weeks left to make up his mind, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hasn’t made clear if he’ll add his name to that list.

Protesters stand outside the Governor's Mansion at a rally in support of refugee resettlement services in November 2015.
Pu Ying Huang for KUT

Texas’ refugee resettlement programs are bracing for what could be a huge blow – one that stakeholders say could weaken the state's support system for years to come.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Once a hub for refugees starting new lives and reuniting with their families, refugee resettlement efforts in Texas are now a shadow of what they once were.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas has resettled dramatically fewer refugees in the past year, figures from Refugee Services of Texas show.

The organization said 3,518 people were resettled between October 2016 and March 2017. Between October 2017 and March of this year, only 736 were resettled. That’s a 79 percent decrease.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It’s the final week of classes at Harris Elementary. UT graduate student Kim ​Canuette Grimaldi is meeting with her students one last time before summer vacation. Second- and third-graders Amira and Sajeda, both from Sudan, sit across from her at a small, half-moon-shaped table. While they’re working on multiplication, Amira starts sounding out the word on ​Canuette Grimaldi’s shirt.

A sticker there reads “mentor.”

Pu Ying Huang for KUT

The past several months have been chaos for groups that help resettle families in the U.S. As a result, Texas has resettled drastically fewer refugees this year than it has in previous years.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

The federal refugee resettlement program has faced a lot of uncertainties in the past several weeks, and folks who work with refugees here in Austin say it’s making their work more complicated than usual.

From Texas Standard:

The number of refugee children in some Texas schools is actually going down – but it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump's latest ban on refugees.

 

To understand why these children leaving is a big deal, it may serve us well to understand why their arrival was also a big deal.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Amid some uncertainty and confusion regarding the country's refugee resettlement program, the federal agency in charge of helping refugees resettle has designated a group of nonprofits that will take over services previously carried out by the State of Texas.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

It has been about a week since President Trump signed an executive order banning travel into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump said the ban is an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country, even though refugees already go through an extensive screening process. Local groups who help resettle refugees in Texas say they still don’t know what this means for the families they were expecting this week.

Updated at 5:40 a.m. ET Sunday

Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn, N.Y. granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and issued a stay late Saturday on the deportations of valid visa holders after they have landed at a U.S. airport. The ruling by Donnelly temporarily blocks President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration signed Friday.

According to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang:

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday temporarily banning the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. — and suspended visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.

Texas resettles roughly 7,000 refugees a year, more than many other states. Non-profits who work in helping those families get on their feet here in Texas say Trump’s executive order was “abrupt” and has left both federal and local agencies scrambling to figure out what happens next.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is using the violent attack on the Ohio State University campus yesterday as an example of why he removed Texas from the Refugee Relocation Process. He says in a tweet he will not "be an accomplice to importing terrorists."

Pu Ying-Huang for KUT News

Over the next four months, Texas officials will be offloading programs aimed at helping newly arrived refugees. Last week, the state announced it was leaving the federal refugee resettlement program after four decades in the program.