MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday appealed the dismissal of the state’s lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement.
The governor’s office said the notice of appeal was filed with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Bentley filed the lawsuit in January, arguing that federal officials were failing to fulfill a duty under the Refugee Act of 1980 that says the federal government “shall consult regularly” with states on placement.
The state asked a federal judge to block refugees from coming to the state unless federal officials provided a full background check and medical information on each refugee. Alabama U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott wrote last month that there was “nothing in the Refugee Act” that required federal officials to give states the information that Alabama was seeking.
“My problem is not with individual refugees, rather my issue is with the federal government and the unwillingness to enforce their own laws and follow their own procedures,” Bentley said in a statement.
The lawsuit did not specify Syrian refugees but was filed after a number of governors, including Bentley, vowed to try to ban Syrian refugees in the wake of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people.
States have had little success with lawsuits regarding refugee placement.
The dismissal of the Alabama case came shortly after a judge dismissed a similar Texas lawsuit, ruling states had no authority over resettlements handled by the federal government.
Alabama takes in a low number of refugees overall compared with other parts of the country. The state took in 107 refugees in fiscal year 2014, one of the lowest numbers of any state, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. Only five states took in fewer refugees that year.
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