Citizens of Texas have reacted to the Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement of the State Refugee Security Act with both criticism and praise.
“How DARE you think you speak for me. I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE refugees from anywhere to come settle in MY state,” one constituent wrote to the governor’s office while another wrote, “I support the State Refugee Security Act. Thank you for your leadership.”
On Dec. 8, Abbott and Cruz announced in a press conference that the State Refugee Security Act would equip states and governors with the ability to protect their constituents by giving governors the tools to address challenges associated with refugee resettlement from countries inhabited by terrorist organizations.
“It’s important to emphasize that the threats to America’s security are difficult to assess,” Abbot said during the announcement.
The governor went on to state that the challenges states are facing with regard to Syrian refugees is because the federal government and the refugee relocation organizations are not following current laws passed by Congress.
After mentioning the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Abbott stated that “ISIS capabilities have eluded even the President of the United States.”
The Texas governor said that his top priority is to keep the citizens of Texas safe and thanked Cruz for standing up in leadership and creating a bill that will help him do that.
During the press conference, Cruz stated that continuing to accept Syrian refugees “makes no sense.”
“We should not be bringing in refugees when our own FBI tells us, ‘We cannot ascertain whether or not they are ISIS terrorists,’” Cruz said. “If the Commander in Chief won’t act then it’s incumbent on Congress to act.”
Cruz explained that the proposed bill would give Abbott, and governors of other states, the ability to decline to accept refugees from regions inhabited by terrorists if the governors do not feel the federal government has sufficiently vetted the refugees.
Since the announcement, mixed reactions from constituents have poured into the governor’s office. Abbott’s office released some of the correspondence it had received to the SE Texas Record.
“I’m writing to express my disgust and disappointment at the bill you introduced yesterday,” Ms. Ahmed wrote. “As a Muslim-American, I take offense to the State Refugee Security Act that targets Muslim refugees. I am offended and disappointed that an elected official would use his platform to imply that Muslims are violent terrorists.”
Ms. Solomon also wrote to the governor and expressed her disproval of the bill. “I am glad I am NOT a Republican,” she wrote, “but I definitely am an American it is A sham our government in Texas are bigots teach hate by your actions actions(sic) and words there are ways of handling the situation your attitudes are turning other countries and our own people against you shame on Ted Cruz and shame on you,” she wrote.
Others were pleased with the governor’s work with Cruz and praised their efforts.
“I would like to let you know that as a voting adult fully supports the State Refugee Act of 2015,” Mr. Currie wrote. “I understand that these refugees are experiencing hardship. Their situation does not make it right for our government to take the resources of the citizens and give them to foreigners. I am not sure how some are not able to realize that just because a person is being harmed or oppressed does not make that person innocent. Being harmed is not proof that you are good,” he wrote.
Mr. Horst chimed in and applauded the bill. “I support you and Senator Ted Cruz introducing legislation to refuse the acceptance of refugees in enter our U.S. Borders because we don’t if any of these people are ISIS influenced to bring danger to our safety and security of our country and it’s(sic) citizens. Thank you for your boldness and courage in taking action on the threat ISIS,” Horst wrote.
The State Refugee Security Act was introduced in the House on Dec. 9.