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State strikes out on Syrian refugees again

Too bad. Now give up already.

A federal judge has again denied a bid by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in the state.

Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on Monday rejected Paxton’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar the Syrian refugees, dealing another blow to Gov. Greg Abbott’s vow — made in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 dead — to keep people fleeing the war-torn country out of Texas.

“The Court does not deny that the Syrian refugees pose some risk. That would be foolish,” Godbey wrote. “In our country, however, it is the federal executive that is charged with assessing and mitigating that risk, not the states and not the courts.”

The court cannot “interfere with the executive’s discharge of its foreign affairs and national security duties based on a possibility of a harm,” and Texas failed to prove that refugee resettlement poses a “substantial threat of irreparable injury,” Godbey wrote.


The state’s next move is unclear; Wise said the AG’s office is “currently evaluating” its legal options moving forward. In his ruling, Godbey said Texas is unlikely to succeed in the lawsuit because it has “no viable cause of action” against the federal government.

See here, here, and here for the background, and here for a copy of Judge Godbey’s order. There’s still the matter of the other filing, in which Texas complained that the Obama administration had failed to give the state the seven days notice it was supposed to before resettling other families; the Justice Department has since apologized and claimed it has gotten back into compliance. I kind of doubt that changes anything in the big picture, but a slap on the wrist of some kind may be forthcoming. I don’t know what the state will do next, but giving up quietly seems unlikely, so we’ll see. The Chron and Trail Blazers have more.

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