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Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a disaster declaration that directs state child-care regulators to "take all necessary steps" to deny or discontinue within 90 days state licenses for any facilities that house migrant children.

Why it matters: The directive could force the relocation of 4,223 migrant children currently residing in state-licensed facilities in Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News reports.

  • There are roughly 17,000 unaccompanied children in the United States.
  • Texas currently has 52 state-licensed general residential operations and child-placing agencies, which partner with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for undocumented children, per the Dallas Morning News.

What they're saying: “The Biden administration’s immigration policies are failing Texans, causing a humanitarian crisis in many Texas communities along the border,” Abbot said in the order, which was dated May 31.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it was assessing Abbott's directive, but it does not intend to close any facilities as a result of the order.

  • "HHS’s top priority is the health and safety of the children in our care," Sarah Lovenheim, a spokesperson for HHS tweeted.

The big picture: "Some critics worry [Abbott's order] could set a precedent for other Republican governors to thwart efforts by the Biden administration to increase capacity in a network of licensed shelters," AP noted.

Go deeper

Texas governor threatens to defund state legislature after voting bill fails

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vowed Monday to veto funding for the state legislature in response to state House Democrats walking out to block Republicans' voting restrictions bill.

Driving the news: Abbott had vowed to sign the bill into law, but Democrats prevented it from passing with Sunday night's walkout before a midnight voting deadline.

Des Moines leaders call out anti-refugee rhetoric

Drake University President Marty Martin speaks during a May 14 commencement ceremony. Photo: Screenshot of Drake University's online video

At least two community leaders are using their platforms to denounce anti-refugee rhetoric.

  • Last month, Drake University President Marty Martin and Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders drew attention to state leaders' words and actions regarding refugee policies.

Catch up fast: Gov. Kim Reynolds this year rejected a federal request for Iowa to help house migrant children.

“This is not our problem. This is the president's problem. He is the one that opened the borders. He needs to be responsible for this, and he needs to stop it."
Gov. Reynolds, on WHO radio

What they're saying: During a May 14 commencement ceremony, Martin recounted Iowa's history of welcoming more than 2,600 Tai Dam refugees to the state in the 1970s under then-Gov. Robert Ray.

  • "Governor Ray did not say in any of those instances that it was someone else's problem," Martin said. (You can watch his speech here, which begins around the 28-minute mark.)
  • During a meeting Friday, Sanders told the City Council that the state's refugee and human equality policies weren't "a good image" of Iowa this year.
  • "It does matter that Iowa and Des Moines has a sense of belonging and welcome to the rest of the community and to the rest of the world," Sanders said.

Why it matters: Beyond obvious humanitarian reasons, maintaining a welcoming community is essential for the area's growth — particularly considering its worker shortages — as well as the state's cultural vitality.

What's next: Sanders said a large group of business representatives are talking about the problem but he didn’t elaborate about possible next steps.

Jun 1, 2021 - World

Canada's Trudeau pledges to search for more Indigenous children's graves

Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, earlier this month. Photo: David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Monday to help after Indigenous leaders called for residential school grounds across Canada to be searched for mass graves after the remains of 215 children were uncovered at a school site.

Driving the news: Trudeau noted during a Monday briefing on last week's discovery at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that "sadly, this is not an exception or an isolated incident" and finding other mass grave sites was "an important part of discovering the truth."