Press Release: Texas Opts Out of Resettlement Program

Press Release: Texas Opts Out of Resettlement Program

Posted on in Refugees.

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Today is the day when our Governor’s actions to reject those fleeing the world’s worst crisis goes into effect. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has decided to place an impossible standard on the U.S. government as it seeks to welcome refugees fleeing conflict and disaster. Gov. Abbott claims that “refugees cannot be vetted” yet it is widely known how rigorous the refugee vetting process is and how strict the conditions are for refugees to be approved.

The facts are these:

1. Of the nearly 20 million refugees worldwide less than 1% are ever selected for the UN Resettlement Program. Of that 1% the U.S. resettles around 70,000 people annually.

2. Refugees go through a rigorous, multi-phase background and fact checking process conducted by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and other agencies. This process takes around two years to complete.

3. Any person selected for U.S. resettlement cannot be found to have been a part of an armed group, have a criminal history, or associated with persons or groups who have been associated with criminal, militia, or terrorist activity.

4. Refugees who entered Europe did so as asylum seekers, not as vetted refugees participating in the UN Refugee Resettlement Program – which is the only way refugees enter the U.S. Therefore, citing the terror attacks in Europe as reason to reject refugees entering the U.S. is one based not in program integrity, but race and religious bias.

There is no vetting process nor depth of knowledge that can be had about any person which can predict hidden intentions or future actions. FBI Dir. Comey, who has often been misquoted regarding the vetting process was not suggesting that the U.S. does not have a legitimate tool for vetting refugees. But, rather, that those who are vetted have passed the most rigorous of tests and yet it is an unknown as to what an individual will chose to pursue in the future. To suggest that one must be able to predict the future actions or hidden intentions of refugees in order for Americans to welcome those fleeing for their lives presents an impossible standard in the face of indescribable tragedy.

America is a land where people from the world over have fled. This is a nation of migrants seeking refuge and a better life. As Americans we cannot forget our past. We cannot rush into safety and close the doors behind us. We cannot build a future based on fear. No, we must meet those in need – not with fear, bias, and rejection – but with love, hope, and acceptance. It is the mutual humanity and image of God within refugees that we see and a desire to realize their flourishing and invite them into our prosperity that we pursue.

As Americans and citizens of the world it is our responsibility to stand with and for the most vulnerable. This is our moment in history. Will we be known as those who rejected or those who welcomed? I urge you to search your heart, your faith, and your values and find within a safe space for refugees to call home.

Grace and peace,

Jason Clarke
Founder, Director
Seek The Peace