A federal district court rejected Texas’s attempt to bar the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in the state and dismissed the lawsuit on Wednesday.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission failed to “state a plausible claim for relief” or prove it could challenge the government’s actions under existing law, federal district judge David Godbey ruled.
Texas officials originally filed the lawsuit last December against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit agency that assists with refugee resettlement. The legal fight came amid a broader backlash by some states, largely led by Republican officials, to resettling Syrian refugees after the terrorist attacks in Paris last November. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the commission to suspend its cooperation with federal officials three days after the attacks. At the time, the agency also asked the court to halt the imminent arrival in Texas of a Syrian refugee family, but Godbey declined to intervene.
In the lawsuit, Texas accused the federal government of violating the Refugee Act of 1980, which requires resettlement agencies to “consult regularly” with state governments before placing refugees in a state. While both agencies provided Texas with advance notice of resettlements, state officials asked their federal counterparts and the IRC for more specific information about individual refugees in the weeks leading up to the lawsuit.