Immigration Rights issue image

Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. United States of America

Location: Texas
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: October 7, 2016

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, National Immigration Law Center and Southern Poverty Law Center 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.

Within hours of filing our legal brief in opposition to Texas’ temporary restraining order in the Syrian resettlement case, the state announced it was withdrawing its request for the temporary restraining order. This means that Syrian families who were poised to resettle in Texas will not be illegally blocked from doing so by the state prior to a court hearing on the state’s preliminary injunction request to keep those refugees out. On February 8, 2016 a judge denied Texas’ motion to block Syrian refugees and found Texas unlikely to win the lawsuit.

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.”

Update: On June 16, 2016, a federal court dismissed Texas’ effort to block the federal government and a nonprofit relief organization from resettling Syrian refugees in the state. The state appealed. On Oct. 7, Texas dismissed its own appeal in this case.

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