Confusion surrounds Gov. Abbott's order on Syrian refugees

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- Confusion surrounds Governor Abbott's order for Texas agencies to deny service to Syrian refugees.

Several local refugee resettlement agencies said they are not certain how the governor's decision will affect the work they do.

Interfaith Ministries said in a statement, "Properly vetted refugees should be welcomed and resettled in Texas. We are reviewing Governor Abbott's letter to President Obama to ascertain its implications regarding accepting Syrian refugees for resettlement in Houston."

A spokesman for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said their agency is awaiting direction from the Bishop on how to respond.

Immigration attorney Mana Yeagani questions the legality of the governor's intentions.

"It's a political statement. He does not have any constitutional authority to deny any individual admission to a particular state," Yeagani said, "So from his legal standpoint, he may want to cut off some funding to state agencies, but again, that's an equal protection problem."

Governor Abbott has charged the Texas Department of Public Safety with making sure refugees currently living in Texas pose no threat to the public. The governor also appointed Cecile Young as the State Refugee Coordinator for Texas.
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