Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price is urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to continue allowing refugees to call Texas home.
In a letter sent to Abbott’s office on Friday, Mayor Price requested Abbott provide his written consent to the U.S. State Department to refugees within the state. Roughly 2,600 refugees have settled in Fort Worth since 2016 and Texas is one of the leading states when it comes to number of refugees, Price said.
“If you come and you’re planning to bring your family in later – to have that suddenly cut off, where are you going to send family members?” questioned Price. “So many refugees that have come are small business owners, entrepreneurs, and they really do become part our community –a huge piece of the fabric of Fort Worth.”
Under President Donald Trump’s Sept. 26 executive order, which is currently being challenged by refugee advocates, the federal government should resettle refugees “only in those jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive refugees,” requiring written consent from local governments.
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“State and local governments are best positioned to know the resources and capacities they may or may have available to devote to sustainable resettlements, which maximizes the likelihood refugees placed in the area will become self-sufficient and free from long-term dependence on public assistance,” the order states. “Some states and localities, however, have viewed existed consultation as insufficient, and there is a need for closer coordination and a more clearly defined role for state and local governments in the refugee settlement process. My administration seeks to enhance these consultations.”
In the letter addressed to Abbott, Price stated the city of Fort Worth is “proudly home” to at least three agencies and non-profits working as refugee settlement agencies.
One of those agencies is World Relief, where Kati Brandon serves as a program manager for immigration and legal services.
“A lot of the clients I’ve seen after working here for several years still remember me as the first person that they knew in America,” Brandon told NBC 5.
In the past year, Brandon said World Relief in Fort Worth has had nearly 50 clients. Their services include help with job placement, along with access to educational services.
“We do get a lot of families with children, so our job includes enrolling those kids in school, making sure they have the supplies and everything they need – even making sure that the teachers in the schools are prepared to receive those kids,” she said.
In Price’s letter to Abbott, she stated she is “realistic that the annual number of refugees will decrease with President Trump’s new lowered 2020 cap” of 18,000 refugees to the United States but still urged him to enable refugees to continue resettling in Texas under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement program.
A request for a statement from Governor’s office has not been returned.