Abbott said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the state and non-profit organizations “have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and the homeless — indeed, all Texans.”
“As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY 2020,” Abbott wrote.
Trump’s executive order directed states and localities to provide written consent to resettle refugees in their jurisdictions. Thirty-nine states have told the State Department they intend to continue to place refugees in their states. Of those, 17 are led by Republicans.
States have until June 1 to provide consent, but resettlement agencies need to submit proposals for federal funding later this month, creating a de-facto deadline.
The agencies suing the government over the executive order all slammed the Texas governor’s decision on Friday.
“Governor Abbott’s decision is cruel, harmful and a rejection of the values of Texas communities. Texas has long been a leading state in refugee resettlement. It also flies in the face of our nation’s legacy of welcome supported by the governors from 42 states who have committed to continue welcoming refugees,” said CWS President and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough.
CNN’s Pricilla Alavarez and Catherine Shocichet contributed to this story.