Wu Makes Plea for Texas to Continue Legacy of Helping Refugees

September 27, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Beth Martin – 713-271-3900

Wu Makes Plea for Texas to Continue Legacy of Helping Refugees

HOUSTON, TX – State Representative Gene Wu expressed frustration and disappointment at the recent announcement made by Governor Abbott that the State of Texas would withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program.

“This is a purely political act,” said Wu. “While the state’s action will not stop refugees from coming to Texas, the state’s withdrawal will make the job of assisting refugees more difficult for local nonprofit, social service and faith organizations – and create a catchy headline for Republican fundraising emails. Anti-refugee measures politicize and demonize the plight of persecuted people, and do nothing to make Texans more safe. The state’s action will just create more bureaucracy and pain for desperate families.”

For the past 40 years, Texas has administered the federal program through various local organizations, and in the last five years has resettled more than 40,000 refugees, surpassing all other states. Refugees go through an intense security screening process before being admitted for resettlement. Even in the absence of Texas’ cooperation, federal officials will work directly with local organizations to distribute the federal funds and ensure resources are available to assist refugees resettled in Texas.

Houston alone is home to over 70,000 refugees from 79 different countries, and it resettles more refugees than any other city in the United States. Many refugee families reside in Texas House District 137 in Southwest Houston, along with numerous organizations offering programs, services, resources and support.

“Texans are compassionate and hospitable people, and our state has a long and proud history of helping refugees,” Wu said. “At a time when the most vulnerable people in the world need help, we should not turn our backs.” Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Refugee Services of Texas, YMCA of Greater Houston, Bilingual Education Institute, and Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees are only some of the organizations working in Houston to assist refugees.

“I am deeply grateful and humbled by the work being done by these organizations,” said Wu. “I join a greater community in Houston and across the state who remain steadfast in our commitment to welcome refugees.”

Wu said, “The State’s withdrawal also sends the wrong message to our business partners. Houston leaders have spent decades building a reputation that Texas is a friendly and inviting place for international business. This action by Texas leaders says the opposite. I encourage all Texans to support the resettlement of refugees – men, women and children who have escaped the horrors of war, abuse and torture. They are simply trying to rebuild their lives. Please don’t let these hurting people get caught in the middle.”

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