Groups Take Legal Action to Prevent Texas Ban on Syrian Refugees

December 4, 2015

Adela de la Torre, National Immigration Law Cente, [email protected], 213-400-7822
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, [email protected], 212.284.7347
Anna Núñez, ACLU of Texas, [email protected], 713.325.7010
Lucy Carrigan, International Rescue Committee, 917.859.3086
Emma Weinstein-Levey, Southern Poverty Law Center, [email protected], 334.956.8458

Groups Take Legal Action to Prevent Texas Ban on Syrian Refugees

LOS ANGELES — The National Immigration Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Southern Poverty Law Center have filed a legal response on behalf of the International Rescue Committee in order to prevent the state of Texas from illegally barring Syrian refugees from entering the state.

The following may be attributed to Jennifer Sime, senior vice president of the International Rescue Committee:

“We are confident that the IRC has always acted in accordance with the law when it comes to our work to assist refugees who have been given sanctuary in Texas. We have had a strong and collaborative relationship with the State for the past 40 years, which has benefitted refugees and local communities. We have made clear our commitment to continued dialogue with the state authorities, and we hope for a swift resolution of this case.”

The following may be attributed to Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“It is reprehensible that the state of Texas would take legal action in order to stop providing refugees with vital services. We are proud to defend the IRC’s efforts to provide those fleeing violence and seeking opportunity on our shores with the tools they need to flourish in their new homes.”

The following may be attributed to Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, lead counsel for the International Rescue Committee:

“Under the U.S. Constitution, no state can unilaterally bar a group of refugees that has been thoroughly vetted and admitted by the federal government. By irrationally blocking Syrian families, based solely on their nationality, Texas is violating federal law, the U.S. Constitution, and our fundamental American values of welcoming and providing refuge for families fleeing violence and war.”

The following may be attributed to Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas:

“Attempts to close Texas’s doors to Syrian refugees run counter to our laws, our values and our conscience. Refugee resettlement is a federal matter over which state governments have no veto authority, and the refugees who need our help are families, widows and children fleeing unspeakable terror wrought by our own enemies. Texans are better than this.”

The following may be attributed to Kristi Graunke, senior staff attorney at Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project:

“Syrian refugees, including many children, are fleeing unconscionable violence and should be welcomed by all states, Texas included. Texas’s attempt to block the IRC’s humanitarian efforts to ensure the safe resettlement of refugees lacks compassion and common sense.”

The legal response is available at

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