- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott became the first in the nation to refuse to host refugees in his state, flexing the new veto the Trump administration created last year to give state and local officials a say in whether they become a destination for the migrants.

More than 40 other governors, both Democrats and Republicans, have said they will accept refugees. But a swath of conservative states from Texas to Florida had held out, ahead of a deadline later this month.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, becomes the first to refuse — a major statement for a state that has accepted more refugees than any other in recent years.

Immigrant-rights activists blasted the decision.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see Texas, which for years has led the nation in welcoming refugees, close its doors to those fleeing violence and persecution,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Turning away those seeking safety and opportunity isn’t just disheartening — for Texas, it’s bad business.”

President Trump, who has been tightening the refugee system for years, added a new control by giving local officials a veto over whether refugees will be sent into their borders.

Both the state and the locality must say they are willing to take refugees.

The State Department has set a Jan. 21 deadline for officials to make their wishes known.

Activists have sued to block the policy.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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