The Slatest

Federal Judge Denies Texas Lawmakers’ Attempt to Block Resettlement of Syrian Refugees

Kurdish refugee children from the Syrian town of Kobani at a camp in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in October 2014.

Kutluhan Cucel/Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas denied Monday the latest attempt by Republican lawmakers in the state to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees there. This is the second time U.S. District Judge David Godbey has thwarted Republican efforts to bar refugees being sent to the state; he denied an emergency order filed in December. On Monday, Godbey denied a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, the nonprofit coordinating the resettlement program.

Godbey, a Republican appointee, however, didn’t make the case that the Obama administration and others have made that the refugees are just that, not ISIS-affiliated terror threats; rather, Republicans in the state, he says, are asking the federal judiciary to do what conservatives regularly complain about by overruling another branch of the government, in this case the executive branch.

Here’s more of what Godbey had to say in his 11-page order from the Dallas Morning News:

“The court does not deny that the Syrian refugees pose some risk,” wrote Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey in his 11-page order. “That would be foolish. In our country, however, it is the federal executive that is charged with assessing and mitigating that risk, not the states and not the courts… Somewhat ironically, Texas, perhaps the reddest of red states, asks a federal court to stick its judicial nose into this political morass, where it does not belong absent statuary authorization.”

“The Commission is unlikely to succeed on the merits,” Godbey wrote of the suits prospects for success, “because it has no viable cause of action against the Federal Defendants.”