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Rep.Goodwin, Vikki

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Texas State Representatives Urge Governor to Accept Refugees  print page

by: Rep. Goodwin, Vikki
01/09/2020

AUSTIN, TX — State Representative Vikki Goodwin sent a letter, signed by her and eight of her House colleagues, to Governor Greg Abbott. The letter requests that the governor again allow refugees to settle in Texas under the federal Refugee Resettlement Program.

The Refugee Resettlement Program is a joint effort of the federal Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Health and Human Services. After screening foreign refugees for any possible security risks, it places them in locations around the country and provides them with financial and medical assistance. In 2016, Governor Abbott withdrew Texas from the program, and last year President Trump ordered the State Department to determine that state and local officials agree to receive any refugees before placing them in those jurisdictions. To date, 39 governors have made this commitment for their states, but Governor Abbott is not among them. The deadline for making the declaration is January 21.

In their letter, the representatives assert that Texas should accept refugees on both moral and economic grounds. The state has “an ethical obligation to help those who are fleeing violence and oppression.” But refugees are also good for the state, exhibiting disproportionate levels of entrepreneurialism and generating economic activity and tax revenue that work to the benefit of all. The representatives conclude that “we should welcome” those who are forced to “flee their home counties” and who “come here looking for a better life.”

Representative Goodwin initiated the letter after learning that Governor Abbott had not yet affirmed the state’s commitment to refugees. “An unprecedented amount of people across the world are experiencing displacement today,” she said. “Texas must continue to be a place that is open and welcoming to all.”

In addition to Representative Goodwin, the letter was signed by Representatives Michelle Beckley, Rhetta Bowers, Gina Hinojosa, Donna Howard, Jon Rosenthal, James Talarico, John Turner and Erin Zwiener.

Contact: Madeline White

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