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Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at the gubernatorial debate at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, Friday evening, Sept. 28, 2018, LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin 09/28/2018

Maybe he’s angling for a new job.

That’s one explanation behind Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent, odd decision to ban refugees to Texas. Though a federal judge recently blocked the Trump administration executive order behind the ban, Abbott is sticking to his original decision.

The governor is the only taker of Trump’s offer to allow local leaders, not the feds, to decide whether or not to permit refugees. At least 42 other governors, including Republicans, said no thanks to Donnie and agreed to accept refugees.

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Maybe Abbott thinks that getting in good with Trump now will make sense come November, once the tweeter-in-chief wins re-election, and he will because the leading Dem candidates are too old, white, and male; too liberal; and too Pete Buttigieg. Insert: joke about temp work, knowing that there’s more turnover in the current White House than every episode of The Great British Bake Off put together. We guess taking a detour through D.C. is one way to put Texas in your rearview. Bon voyage, Greg.

Texas’ Catholic bishops decried the ban, and the mayors of nearly 90 cities across the country wrote Trump a letter bemoaning his executive order. The mayors, along with talking about how great refugees are, and they are, said they believe the executive order will “lead to a patchwork of conflicting policies.”

The mayors go on to call the order “an unprecedented and harmful procedure, particularly given that resettlement agencies already consult regularly with state and local stakeholders regarding community needs.”

The mayors of every major Texas city signed the letter.

Except Betsy Price. 

Fort Worth’s mayor had decided to skip bothering Trump in favor of working directly with Abbott, according to what her spokesperson recently told the Star-Telegram. Abbott’s office has not replied to Price yet.

“As mayor,” Price writes, “I’ve witnessed the mutually beneficial impact of resettling almost 2,600 refugees in Fort Worth since 2016. I don’t want to risk fixing anything that is not broken. I have heard from supportive local employers and faith leaders who share my concern that refugees may no longer be permitted in Fort Worth and North Texas, potentially harming our economy and increasing the risk that refugees might not be placed with their Texas family members.”

The crueler, and perhaps sadder and realer, explanation may be that Abbott has bought into Trump’s b.s. about refugees, because politics. Every Republican is so afraid of The Donald’s erstwhile all-powerful base that he or she will flat-out lie to carry his Diet Coke. And his base is out in force on this one, trolling the interwebs with dubious scare-mongering and misinformation.

“Why do we allow judges to make law?” comments Candy Scott on a Texas Tribune story of the ban. “The ILLEGAL ALIENS are causing the property taxes to skyrocket, which hurts everyone from homeowner to renter’s [sic]. Crime has gone way up and wages are artificially kept down. Democrats care more about foreign nationals than those they are supposed to represent.”

First of all, Karen, refugees are not illegal immigrants. Refugees must undergo an extensive screening and legal process before they can get comfy on American soil. Included among them are the interpreters who battle alongside U.S. soldiers in war zones across the globe. You can fly as many Old Glorys as you want, Kathy, but unless you saw combat, you haven’t done one ounce as much for our country as have these interpreters who are languishing in war zones waiting to be admitted to the country they love so much. 

Secondly, U.S. cities with a lot of refugees are actually safer than cities with only a little, according to a study by the immigration research organization New American Economy. After examining the 10 U.S. cities that received the most refugees relative to the size of the cities’ populations between 2006 and 2015, the organization found that nine of the cities became “considerably” safer, “both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime.”

And as most small business owners know, not only do many able-bodied Americans feel hard work is beneath them, why hire them when an immigrant will do it better? We’re only partly joking, but a while back an independent contractor told us he can’t hire able-bodied Americans –– next to none of them apply for his jobs, and if they do and are brought onboard, they demand high pay and mess everything up. Immigrants, the contractor said, do the same job better and at a reasonable rate.

As soon as Trump took office, he began reducing the number of refugees. From 97,000 four years ago, according to the Pew Research Center, he is proposing to allow only 18,000 in 2020, a low since the resettlement program began in 1980 and a 40-percent reduction from last year’s 33,000. 

The lower numbers are staggering considering the sheer volume of refugees wandering the globe now. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said there are about 25.9 million refugees worldwide, some of the highest numbers ever. 

Trump is clearly afraid of admitting terrorists to our shores, despite mounting evidence that most terrorists are already living here among us.

Texas’ numbers are also down. While we lead the nation in resettling refugees –– 2,458 of them, or 8.19 percent of all refugees resettled in the country, last year –– the numbers are dropping precipitously. Comparatively, in 2009, Texas resettled a whopping 8,212 refugees.

Fort Worth isn’t faring any better. From 1,497 in 2016, we resettled only 234 refugees in 2018, according to New American Economy.

The state’s Catholic bishops, in denouncing the “discouraging and disheartening” ban, said it “denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans.”

A cowardly fear of the unknown drives Trump and his most ardent supporters: fear of losing control, fear of losing money, fear of becoming minorities. We thought Abbott was braver than that. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. The “study” by the pro-immigration organization New American Economy is junk science at its finest. This group, made up of leftist politicians, and business leaders with a vested interest in keeping their labor costs low, purports to show that settling large numbers of refugees in a community causes crime to decrease. But a look at the numbers behind the graphics show nothing of the sort.

    The introduction cites, “… Southfield, Michigan, a community just outside of Detroit, where violent crime dropped by 77.1 percent.” Clearly the authors are trying to invoke images of a decaying, crime ridden, rust belt city, resurrected by the influx of large numbers of refugees. But a quick check of FBI crime statistics shows that violent crime declined substantially in the City of Detroit over the same period. Crime declined in Southfield just like it did in other nearby areas. Refugees moving in had nothing to do with it.

    According to the study, as a percentage of population, Clarkston, Georgia, a town about the size of Azle, located in Dekalb County, received more refugees from 2006 to 2015 than any other city. The study says Clarkston saw a 4.8% decrease in violent crime and an 8.0% decrease in property crime. But again, a look at the bigger picture shows that Dekalb County as a whole saw a 22% decrease in violent crime and a 16% decrease in property crime. Clarkston became safer because crime in the entire region declined, not because refugees moved in.

    In fact, a cynical person could look at the Dekalb County crime data and argue that had Clarkston not settled 4,182 refugees in their small town, their community would have gotten even safer. But then such an argument would stoop to level of pseudo-science of the type employed by New American Economy.

    Finally, your statement, “… U.S. cities with a lot of refugees are actually safer than cities with only a little” should be retracted. The study you cite does not say that.

  2. That is a brilliantly selective citing of statistics and an even grosser example of ‘pseudo-scientific’ skullduggery. I guess the above comment shows that this person is so used to using ‘Leftist’ tactics that they’re practically a Commie! Can’t tell if it’s a troll or the individual actually thinks they’re informed…

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