Updated Jan 10, 2020

Republican governors reject Trump’s offer to ban refugees

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Reproduced from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is the only Republican governor so far to stop accepting refugees following President Trump’s executive order that allows state and local governments to block refugee resettlements.

The big picture: While Republicans widely support Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, local and state officials in many states have been unwilling to push out those who have been forced from their homes and gone through stringent vetting processes required to become a U.S. refugee.

  • Presidents have previously tried to uplift refugee resettlement programs with “bipartisan pride,” and to generate goodwill domestically and internationally, the Washington Post writes.
  • Trump has already capped the number of refugees the U.S. will accept at a historic low of just 18,000 from a high of 110,000 in 2016.

What’s happening: Republican governors of Tennessee, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Nebraska along with others have written letters to the U.S. State Department or publicly announced they will continue accepting refugee resettlements, representing some of the reddest states in the country.

  • They join more than two dozen other states that plan to continue taking refugees, according to Axios' compilation of news reports, press releases and public statements.
  • Not all states have released their decisions.

Abbott had previously withdrawn Texas from the national refugee resettlement program and sued for the right to block Syrian refugees from settling in the state, the Texas Tribune reports.

Both Tennessee and North Dakota have also sued for the right to refuse refugee settlements, but have now both said they plan to continue accepting refugees.

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Texas becomes first state to refuse refugees

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks with President Trump. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Friday that the state will not accept any refugees this year, AP reports.

Why it matters: Abbott is the first governor to take President Trump up on his executive order allowing state and local governments to block refugee resettlements. Other Republican governors have publicly welcomed refugees. In 2019, Texas received more refugees than any other state.

Go deeper: Republican governors reject Trump's offer to ban refugees

Keep ReadingArrowJan 10, 2020

Federal judge temporarily stops states from denying refugees

President Trump. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, temporarily blocking President Trump’s executive order which allowed state and local governments to refuse accepting refugee resettlements.

Why it matters: A week earlier, Texas became the first state to say it would not accept refugees. More refugees resettled in the state last year than any other.

Go deeper: Republican governors reject Trump’s offer to ban refugees

Keep ReadingArrowJan 15, 2020

A major investment in statehouse reporting

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In the next 12–18 months, States Newsroom, a nonprofit company that supports a group of state capital-based, independent newsrooms, will expand to cover up to 20 more states, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Its efforts are the latest in a string of investments into revitalizing coverage of state governments across the country.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020